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Name of unauthorized employee bitten by tiger at Florida animal sanctuary released

OCHOPEE, Fla. — One day after an employee was bitten by a tiger at Wooten’s Everglades Airboat Tours, Collier County Sheriff’s Office identified the employee as Ignacio Meabe Martinez, 48, from Lehigh Acres.

The agency leading the investigation, Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC), agrees with Wooten’s blog post, saying Martinez was not authorized to be in the tiger’s enclosure.

On Wednesday, customers continued to roll through Wooten’s Everglades Airboats front gates after several agencies, including the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District, responded to the call for service late Tuesday
afternoon.

“Well, first of all, I believe the crews probably looked at each other and said did he say tiger?” said Chief Nolan Sapp.

Greater Naples Fire Rescue District, Chief Nolan Sapp, told me despite the odd call for service, his crews knew they needed to stop the bleeding, care for the wounds, and keep the patient from going into shock.

“Whether it’s a tiger or a dog or an alligator, it’s still an animal bite. And other than the means in which it was conducted, it’s all still similar to each other,” said Sapp.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office report said Martinez reached through the fence to pet the tiger while its caretaker in an outer enclosure was feeding the animal.

In a blog post–Wooten’s Airboats said the employee was not authorized to enter the tiger’s enclosure.

The FWC is talking about a topic that I discovered.

On their website, under their rules and regulations, for owning animals like tigers, it says:

The FWC Captive Wildlife Office is currently reviewing rules related to the following:

  • adding a prohibition on unauthorized persons breaching safety barriers (68a-6.009, f.a.c.)

On Wednesday, FWC’s Public Information Coordinator Shannon Knowles said there weren’t any current criminal penalties in place if someone breaches the barriers.

“Currently, there are no criminal penalties in Florida law regarding unauthorized individuals breaching safety barriers of big cat enclosures. The FWC is evaluating future modifications to that rule,” she said.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office said the tiger was not injured in their report.

Colton Chavez at WFTX first reported this story.

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Name of unauthorized employee bitten by tiger at Florida animal sanctuary released

OCHOPEE, Fla. — One day after an employee was bitten by a tiger at Wooten’s Everglades Airboat Tours, Collier County Sheriff’s Office identified the employee as Ignacio Meabe Martinez, 48, from Lehigh Acres.

The agency leading the investigation, Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC), agrees with Wooten’s blog post, saying Martinez was not authorized to be in the tiger’s enclosure.

On Wednesday, customers continued to roll through Wooten’s Everglades Airboats front gates after several agencies, including the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District, responded to the call for service late Tuesday
afternoon.

“Well, first of all, I believe the crews probably looked at each other and said did he say tiger?” said Chief Nolan Sapp.

Greater Naples Fire Rescue District, Chief Nolan Sapp, told me despite the odd call for service, his crews knew they needed to stop the bleeding, care for the wounds, and keep the patient from going into shock.

“Whether it’s a tiger or a dog or an alligator, it’s still an animal bite. And other than the means in which it was conducted, it’s all still similar to each other,” said Sapp.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office report said Martinez reached through the fence to pet the tiger while its caretaker in an outer enclosure was feeding the animal.

In a blog post–Wooten’s Airboats said the employee was not authorized to enter the tiger’s enclosure.

The FWC is talking about a topic that I discovered.

On their website, under their rules and regulations, for owning animals like tigers, it says:

The FWC Captive Wildlife Office is currently reviewing rules related to the following:

  • adding a prohibition on unauthorized persons breaching safety barriers (68a-6.009, f.a.c.)

On Wednesday, FWC’s Public Information Coordinator Shannon Knowles said there weren’t any current criminal penalties in place if someone breaches the barriers.

“Currently, there are no criminal penalties in Florida law regarding unauthorized individuals breaching safety barriers of big cat enclosures. The FWC is evaluating future modifications to that rule,” she said.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office said the tiger was not injured in their report.

Colton Chavez at WFTX first reported this story.

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“Looking for a few good men… and women.” Allegany Magazine’s January 2022 edition salutes our Volunteer Fire and Rescue Companies | Allegany Magazine

They’re looking for a few good men … and women

January 2022 edition of Allegany Magazine features Salute to Volunteer Fire and Rescue Companies

As the saying goes “they’re looking for a few good men.” And also women.

The January 2022 edition of Allegany Magazine is one that pays tribute to and spotlights not only the volunteers at area fire and rescue squads but also the need for more of them – and for more volunteers in the community in general.

“It’s a brand new year and in the new year, we often make resolutions to help out and become more involved in our community and at Allegany Magazine, we could think of no better time to feature the hard working and dedicated volunteers at our local fire and rescue companies,” said Shane Riggs, managing editor of Allegany Magazine, a sister publication to the Cumberland Times-News.

“I grew up in Ellerslie. And in Ellerslie, two things seemed to set the social and civic structure of the town – the churches and the Ellerslie Volunteer Fire Company. As a kid, if I wasn’t in the church fellowship hall for some community event, we were gathered in the fire hall,” Riggs said. “From wedding receptions to chicken barbecues to scheduling Trick or Treat to a holiday parade, the local fire hall set the stage for much of what was just nice about growing up in a small town.”

Riggs said the theme for the January 2022 issue was inspired by two local paramedics after his own medical scare two years ago. 

“One of the paramedics who came to my aid told me then that that the local fire and rescue units – particularly those with volunteers – were in need of recruits – younger and stronger and driven men and women. They needed people passionate about serving and saving their communities,” he said. “Since the magazine plans months and sometimes even a year ahead, I put the topic on the ‘burner’ for 2020 – but the pandemic had other plans.  And so here we are, with the edition I promised those two great paramedics we would do.”

The edition features a local fire and rescue volunteer on the cover.  Kristen Smith, 19, joined the Barton Hose Company Number One about a year ago.  She is currently an Emergency Medical Technician, and certified ambulance driver.

“I work diligently to help get our ambulance out the door when there is an emergency. I have various in house duties such as cleaning and maintaining the ambulance as well as our station. At BHC, I am currently a Firefighter in training where I help the company and community in any way I can,” Smith said. “I have a huge passion to help others in their time of need, and I get to do that every time I step foot on an ambulance or fire apparatus.”

The photo selected for the January 2022 Allegany Magazine cover was taken by Robert Bower of Robert Bower Productions.  It is Bower’s first cover photo with the magazine. It’s also a subject the photographer holds close to heart. Bower is a volunteer with the Corriganville Volunteer Fire Company.

“I spend a lot of my free time volunteering as an EMS Provider at Corriganville Volunteer Fire Department,” says Bower. “I love my fellow volunteers and being able to help the people in the community. I feel called to help others and volunteering is something that has been able to be my platform to show kindness and care to those who need help. It’s never too early or young. Volunteer stations everywhere are in need of help. I would encourage everyone to take part in their local EMS System.”

Other features inside the forthcoming edition include an “In Memoriam” tribute to Kelly Frye; a look back at the heyday of the Celanese plant; adopting pets from the local animal shelters; the Mountain Maryland Search and Rescue Team; and the vacation Albert Einstein once spent at Deep Creek Lake at the suggestion of a friend from Allegany County.  

Now in its 16th year and published monthly, Allegany Magazine is available by subscription. Single copy sales are available at select retail partners in the tristate area.