(CENTER POINT, Ind.) — A woman in Indiana is in critical condition after being mauled by a tiger, officials said.
Marissa Dub, an employee at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Center Point, Ind., was cleaning the cage of a tiger named Raja on Friday when the animal attacked her, according to a statement from the Clay County Sheriff’s office.
After Dub screamed for help, another employee found the tiger had attacked Dub and her head was in its mouth.
Joe Taft, the director and founder of the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, was able to distract the tiger by spraying it with water, which caused the animal to release its grip on Dub.
Employees were then able to get Dub to safety after luring the tiger away with food.
Dub was taken by helicopter to the Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis, where she was listed in serious condition this afternoon.
The Feline Rescue Center, which acts as a shelter for exotic large cats, was founded in 1991 has 223 large cats. It is licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which will be investigating the incident.
Taft told ABCNews.com that all of the cages have guillotine doors or shifted cages that separate the trainers from the animals so that the cages can safely be cleaned.
“We have strict policies prohibiting any staff members from going in a cage with an animal,” Taft said.
Dub had been an employee at the center for approximately a year and previously had been an intern, he said.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Mariel Turner, Kacey Montoya & Nerissa Knight, KTLA
Ariane de Vogue, Mary Kay Mallonee and Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
Kristina Sgueglia, CNN
Eugene Scott, CNN