A woman sticks her hand in the lion cage of the zoo she was visiting, and the lion she decided to pet bit off her finger. Now, this woman sued the zoo for not stopping her from putting her hand in the lion cage in the first place. The Christian Post shared this woman's story on August 1.
Renae Ferguson took her daughter on a visit to the Sunrise Side Nature Trail and Exotic Park last weekend, and she decided she wanted to get up and close with one of the lions at the zoo. She decided to go to the secured area of the zoo, and she asked if she could reach in and pet one of the giant lions. The staff told her no, but she decided to reach her hand in anyway.
She started to pet the giant creature, but it was only a moment before things changed. The lion snapped, and he bit off her middle finger. She saw her finger laying on the ground between her and the lion. Ferguson said the following about the incident in an interview with the local news:
"I put my hand down there to pet it and it ripped my finger. I was in total shock. I really didn't believe that was part of my finger laying on the ground."
The woman also said that when zoo staff found out about the incident that they told her to lie about what happened. However, the staff at Sunrise Side Nature Trail and Exotic Park tells a different story. Staff warned the woman about sticking her hand in the cage. Owners did release a statement about the incident. The emailed statement said the following:
"The lady went into the security area and was told by the guide to get back and the lady stated she wanted to touch the lion and continued, against the guide's warning, to put her finger inside the fence and the lion nipped the end of her finger."
Tina Dobson, Ferguson's daughter, also spoke out about the bite, and she said that she would like to see more precautions taken to protect people from the animals at the zoo. However, her mother went into a security area where visitors are not allowed. Zoos often have areas that are clearly marked for staff only. The woman claims zoo staff gave her full access to the lion's cage, according to The Daily Caller.
The Phoenix Zoo has these areas clearly marked off. A ditch that runs around the lion perch separates the lion exhibit. There is no way a person could reach in and try to pet one of the giant cats. The tiger cage is set up in a similar manner. Zoos lock up animals like lions and tigers for a reason. They are dangerous creatures, and they can act without warning. Ferguson learned that quickly on her own, and she will never try to reach into a lion cage again she said.
It is too late though. The woman lost her finger due to her own actions. The owners of the zoo did plan to speak out about the incident at a press conference earlier this week, but the owners of the zoo cancelled the press conference. The zoo now has a lawyer, and they are not speaking to the media anymore.
The incident could be blamed on the woman entirely. However, her statement about the zoo telling her not to talk about what happened could put the zoo at fault. The zoo denies this claim. A judge will need to decide who is at fault here. The fact that this woman lost her finger is tragic, but a lion is a wild animal. One does not pet it as they do a common house cat.