Elephant at Williston ranch injured woman, FWC says

In this Feb. 9, 2011 file photo, an Asian elephant poses for a photo with visitors at Two Tails Ranch in Williston. A woman was seriously injured by an elephant at the ranch in August, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Monday, October 21, 2013 at 3:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 21, 2013 at 3:05 p.m.

Authorities are investigating a Williston elephant ranch after one of the elephants injured a Brooksville woman two months ago.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesperson Karen Parker on Monday said Diane Bedard was injured Aug. 26 by an elephant at Two Tails Ranch at 18655 NE 81st St. Bedard has been in the hospital since Aug. 26 with “life-threatening” injuries, Parker said.

According to Parker, Bedard was at the house of the owner, Patricia Zerbini, taking pictures of the elephant. When others found her, she was on the ground near the cage, Parker said.

The woman has not been able to speak since the attack, Parker said, and there were no witnesses to the incident.

“The details are skimpy,” she said. “But hopefully we will know more when she wakes up.”

Several calls made to the ranch by The Sun on Monday were not returned.

The FWC learned about the attack on Sept. 17 in a complaint from the animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). In a press release, PETA said an anonymous tip had prompted the organization to alert the agency.

Parker said the ranch could be cited for unsafe conditions resulting in the injury of another person, which is a second-degree misdemeanor.

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