"They could have easily escaped and mauled [someone]," she said, noting how easy it is for safety to be compromised during a crisis. "And those poor schoolchildren who saw that? That's haunting. If I was a kid I think I'd be having nightmares."
Matthews said PETA has reported Pages White Tiger Show for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, as well as to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) - she said OSHA is currently investigating the incident.
However, as is often the case, the show owners are downplaying the incident to avoid repercussions. Before the video was released, David Donnert, Pages' fiance and the trainer who was recorded whipping the tiger, told local outlet WKRG that the tiger simply scratched Pages while playing. "It wasn't a pounce or an attack at all," he said.
Pensacola State Fair officials, who did not observe the incident but were relying on an account provided by the show owners, also originally told local media outlets that Pages suffered minor scratches and wasn't bitten, and that the tiger quickly released her.