From WTSP Tampa Bay 10
DAVENPORT – Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators have charged 51 year old Darrell Atkinson of Davenport with keeping a tiger in a substandard cage.
The charge and three related warning citations are the result of a Feb. 9 tiger attack on Brenda Chapman, who worked as a volunteer at the Horseshoe Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, founded by Atkinson. According to investigators, Ms. Chapman was cleaning the tiger’s cage when the animal mauled her left leg and right hand.
The attack occurred when Atkinson was out of state and reportedly had left unqualified workers in charge of the facility. In addition to the caging violations, a culpable negligence charge against Atkinson is pending in the State Attorney’s office. After the attack, FWC investigators conducted a full inspection of the sanctuary and found a tiger in a 13 x 13-foot cage, constructed of 11-gauge wire with no safety entrance (which would enable workers to enter and exit the cage with minimum safety hazards). The state requirement is for tigers to have 10 x 24-foot cages, constructed of 9-gauge wire and a safety entrance.