CLAY COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - "They're dangerous animals and the greatest care has to be taken with them."
Joe Taft is the Director of the Exotic Feline Rescue Center. He calls Friday's attack an isolated incident.
"We have been here for almost 23 years with a remarkable safety record," said Taft.
A tiger attacked a rescue center worker, Marissa Dub. Taft said it was probably something as simple as a thoughtless mistake.
"People get rushed. People get tired. People do this day in and day out and somebody drops their guard. Somebody forgets a gate. And then you have an accident. That's apparently what happened here," said Taft.
The rules and guidelines for interacting with these cats are strict.
"Our keepers by policy are not allowed in the cages with the cats. For a keeper to be in the cage, there has to have been some bad mistakes somewhere," said Taft.
Taft said they always prepare for these situations, even though they're rare.
Here's the scenario. Dub was moving the cat to clean its cage when she was grabbed.
But a cage like many at the rescue center could easily be left loose.
"The way this system works, all of our cages are compartmentalized, you see in this cage, there's a little cage inside a bigger cage. There's a door into that half of the cage, there's a door into this half of the cage. There is a guillotine gate," said Taft.
Dub was merely preparing to do an ordinary task she does every day at work when the tiger attacked her.
"The cages are cleaned every day as the cats are fed. When the feeding crew comes through, the cats are shifted into one side of the cage or the other. The guillotine gate is put down. Then the keepers are able to go in whichever side of the cage the cat is not on," said Taft.
Keeping the felines safe and cared for is a difficult task, one Taft says should keep workers on their toes, because these aren't your ordinary house cats.
"These are always incredibly dangerous animals.. A lot of them out of incredibly dangerous situations, a lot of them out of incredibly abusive situations," said Taft.
The rescue center is still open to the public at this time.
There are no plans to euthanize the cat that was involved in the attack.
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