The owner of a wildlife sanctuary was injured by a 350-pound Siberian tiger that had been startled by a 14-year-old boy at a county fair, officials said Sunday.
Curt LoGiudice jumped between the tiger 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.
After the boy walked up and "made a sudden move," the tiger knocked him and LoGiudice to the ground and bit and clawed at them, according to a report by Deputy Jerry Montague.
"The handler was attentive enough that he got in between the boy and the tiger," Sgt. Chuck Mulligan said.
There was no immediate response Sunday to repeated calls to LoGiudice's animal sanctuary.