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Teen, police tell of tiger attack

A teen who was attacked by a Siberian tiger told NBC's "Today" show Monday that he thought he was going to die.
/ Source: NBC News and news services

A teen who was attacked by a Siberian tiger while at a county fair told NBC's "Today" show Monday that he thought he was going to die.

Grant Bradley, 14, said he was about seven feet from the tiger, which was being walked back to a truck by its trainer, when he made eye contact. That's when "it jumped on my back, and tackled me to the ground."

"I thought I was going to die," he added.

The tiger's owner, Curt LoGiudice, was injured by the 350-pound animal when he jumped between it and the boy, who was knocked to the ground with LoGiudice.

St. Johns County Sheriff’s deputies had to shoot the animal twice with stun guns to get it to release LoGiudice, who kept his grip on the tiger’s leash and was able to calm it down and take it back to his sanctuary before driving himself to a hospital.

LoGiudice, owner of the Catty Shack Ranch at Jacksonville, had been displaying his animals at the St. Johns County Fair and was walking the tiger back to his truck late Saturday.

Stun gun
Deputy Jerry Montague told "Today" that he was a few feet away when he saw the tiger "biting and clawing at them."

"I thought for sure someone was going to die," he said. That's when he pulled out his Taser stun gun and fired.

The tiger broke the stun gun’s contact wires and attacked LoGiudice again, so a second deputy fired his stun gun.

LoGiudice suffered a puncture wound on one eye lid and behind one ear, according to the police report. He drove his animals back to Jacksonville and secured them before going to a hospital, Sgt. Chuck Mulligan said.

The parents of the boy said he had “a bump and a scratch,” said Joy Hill, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in Ocala.

Investigators are trying to determine how Bradley was able to get so close to the animal.