Ironic that a woman is mauled by a tiger at GW Zoo on the 10th anniversary of Roy Horn being nearly mauled to death by a tiger in his Las Vegas night club act. I remember that the night club magicians came up with some ridiculous story about the tiger going after a woman with big hair and then rushing to save Roy Horn when he had a stroke on stage, by dragging the "tiger tamer" off stage in his windpipe-and-artery-crushing jaws. The most amazing part of this tale is that the press vomited the story around the world and some clueless members of the public just ate it up.
Conflicting Reports :
Did the woman lose her arm or not?
Turns out you often cannot trust the news.
In the absence of knowing who the victim of the tiger mauling was, many members of the media decided to run the spin that Joe Schreibvogel posted on his Facebook page. In fact, the day after the attack, there are 12,800 stories competing on google for the term "tiger attack Oklahoma." I've read hundreds of them, and have yet to find more than a handful who talked to anyone or posted any information that wasn't part of the crisis management attempt by "Joe Exotic" and crew.
A former employee of Joe Schreibvogel's, Bobbi Corona Jones stated on her Facebook page that, "...major kudos to the staff, surgeons, nurses, and chaplains at OU medical center, for your care and bending the rules so I could stay with her in presurgery, in recovery, and getting her settled in room after..." which sounds like they are trying to insulate the victim from talking to anyone who might try to shed some light on this horrible accident."
There just aren't that many women who work there, so it shouldn't be too hard to figure out who the victim was, but the place is known for capitalizing on the homeless and those who have been other wise rejected by society or their families. Most of those people wouldn't have a smart phone, a social presence on Facebook or access to anything outside of the park. These kind of people make the perfect victims. They have nowhere else to go and are loyal to those who put a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs. Add to this that they are often allowed to bottle feed baby lions, tigers and ligers, and they feel "special" for the first time in their lives.
Even though Joe Schreibvogel stated to the press that, "This was an employee error of violating the safety protocols of placing any part of the body inside a cage" it won't surprise anyone if the victim refuses to admit that there is not only a lack of training, but rather the entire culture there is one of treating tigers like house pets. That would have been pretty hypocritical training. This looks like a case of monkey see, monkey do.
Until the tragedy struck, the opening page of the GW Zoo website displayed a video of Joe "Exotic" Schreibvogel hugging a full grown tiger, who appeared to be restrained merely by a leash, at the zoo. There are many, many photos online of the "park manager" John Reinke, a double amputee, in the cage with a full grown lion and sometimes a full grown lion and tiger at the same time. There are plenty of videos online by a man who promotes growing marijuana, who calls himself Nattie G or GoBigInternational, where he was petting adult lions and tigers, and sticking bloody meat in their mouths, through the fences within days of his arrival as a new staff member. How could this impressionable young woman resist being just like her boss and co workers by sneaking in a little scratch behind the tiger's ears?
These images abound all over the Internet and they send the worst possible message. The message that people get, when they see someone from celebrities like Siegfried and Roy to backyard zoo patrons touching big cats and their cubs, is that doing so somehow makes you "special." For people who aren't very bright it is an irresistible invitation to hand over their money, or their lives, to have the bragging rights to say that they touched the wild. If it is the only thing in their life that makes them "special" they will defend their actions and those who enabled their actions, until they grow up and discover that it only made them part of the abusive problem that plagues big cats in captivity. You see, as long as people will pay or volunteer their time to handle big cats and their cubs, the exploiters who profit from it will continue to breed more and more of these charismatic cubs to fill that demand.
The media seems to be missing the main story, which is how Joe Schreibvogel and others like him continue to breed lions and tigers to be used as photo and petting props while real animal protection groups, including Big Cat Rescue, the Humane Society of the United States, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, World Wildlife Fund, Born Free, the Ian Sommerhalder Foundation, the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and the Animal Legal Defense Fund are all working together to end the trade in big cats as pets, ego props and for their parts. See www.BigCatBan.com for more info on that measure before Congress, the USDA and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Why the media would post blanket statements by Joe Exotic is also a mystery. There were such outrageous statements that really should have been investigated, such as:
"The tiger didn't maul her." What on earth constitutes a mauling if not, as Schreibvogel described on television, a person's arm having the flesh stripped from the bone up to the elbow, by a tiger pulling a person through the fence?
Joe Schreibvogel's press release said, "park medics were on the scene within 2 minutes and gave emergency medical attention to the staff member." Really? Who at the GW Zoo has even been to college, much less is qualified to give "emergency medical attention" or be called a "park medic?" In a story story that circulated that day, Joe Schreibvogel was quoted as saying that he was the one who provided the emergency procedures, including a tourniquet.
His siblings have said that he used to dress up like a doctor when he owned a pet store in Texas, and he has videos online of him pretending to be a vet and his latest bizarre impersonation is that of a country singer, where he apparently lip syncs and pretends to play the guitar. Anyone who has ever heard his whiney, nasal voice will know immediately that the person singing on the recording can't possibly be Joe Schreibvogel.
Other news sources quoted the GW Zoo website saying, "It said it had so far rescued more than 1,400 animals and placed more than 1,200 in zoos and sanctuaries around the world." Actually, Joe Schreibvogel states frequently online that he has 1,400 animals currently, which is a lot to house on the 14 ac plot of ground that is the zoo's main animal compound. If he truly did transfer 1,200 animals out to other zoos and sanctuaries, there would be USDA transfer forms, so where are they?
The fact of the matter is that cubs are produced year round to supply the pay to play schemes at the zoo and the only time that lions, tigers and ligers have any value to roadside zoos and traveling shows is when they are small enough to use as photo and petting props. There are illegitimate uses of them, such as for canned hunts, for their parts and for breeding more photo/petting prop cubs, but that is a whole 'nother story.
Pretending to be someone you are not and misrepresenting things has recently cost Joseph Schreibvogel more than a million dollars. You can read about that lawsuit and court order, as well as see videos of the suffering of his animals at http://911animalabuse.com/gw-exotics-animal-foundation/ In some stories being circulated right now he is quoted as saying that it is the first time there has ever been an incident at the GW Zoo, but at this link you will see a video of a child being knocked down and bitten by a tiger in 2011. If you submit a FOIA request to USDA you can also ask how that investigation of the death of 23 cubs in an 18 month period is going.
Joe Schreibvogel claims, on his Facebook page, that "Good Morning America and the Today show is going to be here tonight. I have been helped through this of what to say and how to speak by the best in the business." Among the people that Joe Schreibvogel claims to admire, are those who are well versed in this sort of media spoon feeding, including Bhgavan Antle, who also likes to call himself "doc" despite failing to ever list any credentials that could be investigated, and Karl Mitchell, who thumbs his nose at the USDA and offers pay to play with adult tigers, despite losing his license. Schreibvogel may not be a vet, nor a doctor, nor a country and western singer, but he is a magician and thus well versed in the art of deception.
Is anyone looking past the smoke and mirrors?