Man’s scalp torn off by panther after he pays for ‘full contact experience’

A man who paid the owner of an animal sanctuary for rare and endangered animals for a “full-contact experience” with a black leopard was left with his scalp “hanging from his head” after the big cat turned on him.

Dwight Turner paid $150 to Michael Poggi, saying he wanted a “full-contact experience” with Dasha, his black panther— to “play with it, rub its belly and take pictures.”

But, according to a report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission [FWC] the animal attacked as soon as Turner entered its enclosure.

According to the FWC report, the victim’s scalp was “hanging from his head and his right ear was torn in half.”

Poggi’s Facebook page shows him with multiple animals, including monkeys and alpacas as well as his prized black panther.

As well as keeping his menagerie, Poggi also works in real estate and as an investment advisor.

Legal representatives acting for Mr Turner say that while their client may have signed a waiver as part of his deal with Poggi, the entire experience was illegal and so any agreement would be null and void.

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They added that Mr Turner, 50, spent a week in the emergency room from his injuries.

Poggi, of Davie, Florida, has been charged with allowing contact with an extremely dangerous animal and was also issue with a citation for maintaining captive wildlife in an unsafe condition.

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The laws for owning exotic animals vary from state to state. Tennesse's relaxed attitude to animal ownership has resulted in some serious incidents in the past.

In 2011 a pet macaque that had run away from its owner bit a sizeable chunk out of a a woman’s leg, and attacked several police officers before they shot it to death.

Later that same year, depressed private zoo owner Terry Thompson released all of his animals in a built up area before taking his own life.

The subsequent police response ended in the deaths of 18 tigers, 17 lions, eight bears, three cougars, two wolves, one baboon, and one macaque.

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