DAVIE, Fla. (Nexstar Media Wire) – A Florida man was severely injured after he paid for a “full-contact” experience with a black leopard in late August.
Dwight Turner, 50, paid $150 to a man named Michael Poggi, who runs what he describes on Facebook as an “animal sanctuary” at his Davie home, WPLG reported, citing information from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators.
During the Aug. 31 leopard encounter, detectives say Turner paid to be able to “play with it, rub its belly and take pictures.”
When he entered the backyard enclosure, however, the FWC report says the leopard attacked.
The big cat mauled Turner, tearing one of his ears in half and leaving his scalp “hanging from his head,” the report said.
Turner has since undergone multiple surgeries, according to WPLG, which shared a photo of the man’s bandaged head.
Authorities say Poggi, who was licensed to own the leopard, was charged with allowing full contact with an extremely dangerous animal. Officers also issued a citation for maintaining captive wildlife in an unsafe condition.