Society

Pictures: Violet D'Mello Attacked by 'Tame' Cheetahs at Wildlife Park

| by Michael Allen

In Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Violet D'Mello was attacked by two supposedly tame cheetahs at a wildlife park.

D'Mello, who received injuries to her head, stomach and legs, told South Africa's Herald newspaper: "It was terrifying and happened so quickly. One minute I was in the enclosure with the cheetahs and the next it was biting at my head. I was thrown to the ground and had to play dead while it mauled my legs and stomach."

"They weren't being vicious. You could tell they were just excited, but it became serious very quickly. This was meant to be a holiday, but it's really turned into a nightmare."

After a park employee failed to remove the cheetahs, several park visitors pulled the two big cats off D'Mello, who was able to leave the enclosed petting area. A young girl was also injured.

 D'Mello's husband Archie, was outside during the attack, but took pictures (below). No word if he tried to enter the pen and save his wife.

After the Cheetah mauling, park manager Mike Cantor took D'Mello to hospital: "I have grown up with these cheetahs and they are not aggressive animals. It is almost like they wanted to play with the woman.What happened was that a young girl got a bit uptight and then ran away and the cheetah grabbed her by the leg."

"The trouble is that cheetahs, like dogs, don't have retractable claws and so they would have injured as they did so. The other lady [Mrs D'Mello] went in to assist and the cheetahs probably thought it was a play time.It was a very busy at the park that day, which may have aggravated them somewhat."