Woman Mauled by Cheetahs at Florida Wildlife Sanctuary

The owner of a wildlife sanctuary was attacked by two cheetahs Saturday and hospitalized with about 40 puncture wounds to her extremities and back, authorities said.

Judy Berens was airlifted to Delray Medical Center, but it appears she has non-life threatening injuries, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said.

Berens owns and operates Panther Ridge Conservation Center, which provides homes for exotic cats, authorities said.

She was conducting an exhibition with two male cheetahs in an enclosure when one became distracted by a ball being bounced outside, the sheriff's office said. The cheetah moved toward the ball quickly and knocked her to the ground.

The cheetah then pounced on her and began biting and clawing her, said Gabriella Ferraro, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman. At some point the other cheetah attacked her as well, Ferraro said.

Several people entered the enclosure and rescued her, authorities said.

Ferraro said the cheetahs remain on the property in cages.

Wildlife officers are investigating the attack, but so far it appears there no violations and no laws were broken, Ferraro said.