Woman arrested after gunplay erupts at animal sanctuary Jackson County
sheriff’s deputies arrested a woman late Tuesday on assault charges
after she allegedly fired shots at a New Age teacher who has dedicated her
life to protecting exotic animals.
Deputies were called to the Tiger Sanctuary in the 24000 block of Highway
140, Eagle Point, at around 8 p.m. Tuesday because two women were fighting
and one of them had a gun, Capt. Joe Puckett said.
Deputies arrested Michelle Taylor, 43, on charges of third- and
fourth-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon, menacing and four counts
of reckless endangerment. She was lodged in the Jackson County Jail, where
she remained Wednesday night on $50,000 bail after appearing in Jackson
County Circuit Court Wednesday.
Puckett said Taylor quarreled with Penny Torres, 44, New Age guru who
created a refuge for tigers and other wild animals in the forest outside
The two women, long-time acquaintances, had fought Monday evening and
Taylor fired four shots at Torres that night, witnesses told deputies.
Other people who live in the cluster of homes at what is called the Tiger
Sanctuary intervened and took the gun. Police weren’t called that night,
Tuesday night the two women again clashed. Neighbors took the gun, called
the sheriff’s office and kept the two apart until deputies arrived.
Both altercations happened inside a home, which was damaged by the shots,
but no one was hurt, Puckett said.
Probation ordered in attack at ranch
By SARAH LEMON
An Ashland woman will spend no more time in jail for attacking a
nationally known New Age guru at a local tiger rescue ranch.
Michelle Ann Taylor, 44, was ordered Friday to serve three years of
probation after pleading guilty earlier this week to a charge of
third-degree assault. She spent nearly two months in jail following her
Jan. 21 arrest at the Oregon Tiger Sanctuary off Highway 140 near Eagle
In the heat of an argument, Taylor threw a wine glass at Penny Torres, who
owns and operates the tiger sanctuary, said Tim Barnack, deputy district
attorney for Jackson County. Taylor then cut Torres’ arms and face with
pieces of the broken glass, Barnack said. Taylor also fired four shots
from a .38-caliber revolver in Torres’ general direction, but never
intended to shoot her, Barnack added.
"She was just trying to scare her," Barnack said.
Other residents of the ranch heard the argument and intervened, Barnack
said. Taylor also was cut in the fray, but neither woman was seriously
injured, Barnack said.
In exchange for Taylor’s plea, the District Attorney’s Office agreed to
dismiss five other counts of carrying and using a dangerous weapon,
reckless endangering and menacing in the case.
The attack was totally out of character for Taylor, said her defense
attorney Lisa Greif, adding that her client had no previous criminal
record. Taylor declined to comment on the crime.
A long-time friend of Torres, Taylor also reportedly worked at the ranch.
Torres agreed with the sentence, Barnack said. She did not appear at
Friday’s hearing in Jackson County Circuit Court.
Torres is known nationally for her meditation seminars and as the New Age
channeler of "Mafu," an alleged ancient enlightened being who supposedly
walked the earth when Pompeii prospered. She founded the Oregon Tiger
Sanctuary in 1991. It is not open to the public.
Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail sle...@mailtribune.com
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