Dwight Turner, 50, has undergone two surgeries since being attacked by the animal on August 31, his wife Natushka Turner said in a sworn written statement to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
Dwight Turner and the leopard’s owner, Michael Poggi, 54, arranged for him to “play with it, rub its belly and take pictures” on Poggi’s property in Davie, FWC said in a captive wildfire report.
After Poggi unlocked the leopard’s cage, Dwight Turner entered and sat on a bench inside when the leopard “growled and attacked Mr. Turner biting him on the head and ear,” said the FWC report.
“Mr. Turner sustained injuries to the right side of his head and right ear. Mrs. Turner stated that she had to place part of Mr. Turner’s scalp back in place because it was hanging from his head and his right ear was torn in half,” the FWC said.
Poggi was issued two misdemeanor citations for allowing full contact with an extremely dangerous animal and with maintaining captive wildlife in an unsafe condition causing extensive damage, according to FWC.
CNN has made several attempts to reach Poggi without success. It is unclear whether he has a lawyer.
His Zoom hearing is scheduled for December 2, according to Broward County court documents.
Poggi admitted to FWC investigators that he knew what he did was illegal and answered questions, but would not provide a written statement, the FWC report said.
On his personal Facebook page, Poggi said he’s “an Exotic Animal Breeder of rare or endangered species and has rescued thousands of exotic animals over the past 35 years.”
A Facebook page called “Poggi’s Animal House,” claiming to be for an animal sanctuary, has been deactivated.