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Black leopard mauls Florida man who paid $150 to have "full contact experience"

A 50-year-old man has filed a lawsuit after wildlife officials say he was mauled by a captive black leopard in a backyard animal enclosure in South Florida. Dwight Turner paid $150 for a "full contact experience" with the black leopard, which allowed him to "play with it, rub its belly and take pictures," local station WPLG-TV reported.

A report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the incident happened Aug. 31 in Davie, which is near Fort Lauderdale. The agency charged the owner with allowing full contact with an extremely dangerous animal and was cited for maintaining captive wildlife in an unsafe condition.

WPLG reports that Turner is now suing the owner of the leopard.

The owner, Michael Poggi, has a Facebook page which claims he runs an "animal sanctuary" for rare and endangered animals at the home.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, leopards are classified as critically endangered, and black cats are very rare

The man was attacked as soon as he entered the leopard's enclosure. The injuries were so severe that his scalp was "hanging from his head and his right ear was torn in half," the report said.

He required multiple surgeries, according to the TV station.

"He went for the jugular, took [Turner's] head in its mouth," said Steven Lander, Turner's attorney. "The ear was pretty much removed."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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