Tiger Injures Trainer at Pensacola Interstate Fair

On Oct. 25, a trainer was rushed to the hospital after sustaining scratches to the shin and leg from a playful, young tiger.
On Oct. 25, a trainer was rushed to the hospital after sustaining scratches to the shin and leg from a playful, young tiger.

A performance for elementary school children took a sharp turn after a two-year-old Bengal tiger took a swipe at its trainer.

David Donnert, the trainer’s assistant and fiancé, says the incident is simply an accident, not an attack.

“It wasn’t a pounce or an attack at all,” says Donnert.

Donnert says the trainer fell and the tiger simply reacted in a playful manner by getting on her right leg.

What was fun for the young tiger landed the trainer in the hospital, undergoing a medical procedure.

But in the end, it’s just scratches on the shin and thigh. The biggest concern at this point is infection.

“They are going to clean out the wound, which is very important when you get attacked by a carnivore because of what they have in their claws and teeth,” says Donnert.

Donnert says safety is a top priority for the fair, placing signs all around the fairgrounds to warn visitors of potential dangers.

“We have [many people] come up and shake the fence [to] say ‘here kitty, kitty, tiger, tiger,'” Donnert says. “[But] we have huge signs all around or fence that say don’t do this [or] that.”

The rest of the tigers shows have been canceled for the fair’s remainder because of the trainer’s injury.

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