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Zoo Investigates After Patron Is Bitten by Rhino

Thousands of people visit the San Diego Zoo with the expectation that they can see exotic animals up close without many of the concerns associated with seeing them in the wild. As such, zoo management should take steps to make sure that visitors are safe from animal attacks.

One woman visited a zoo in another state hoping to have a very unique experience. She paid an additional fee to pet and feed a black rhino. However, the offer billed as a "meet and greet" took an unfortunate turn when the animal bit the woman's finger. She was brought to a local hospital to receive treatment for her injuries.

Immediately after the incident occurred, the zoo shut down the program indefinitely and will report the bite to its accrediting agency. Beyond that, clear details of the incident were not provided in the Huffington Post's story.

Depending on the nature of the animal bite and the program offered by the zoo, it may be possible for the injured woman to pursue a civil claim. If she missed any time from work as a result of the injury or incurred significant medical bills, a successful suit could help her recover financial losses related to the incident.

When offering the up-close-and-person experience with the rhino, officials at the zoo should have taken specific precautions to ensure that this kind of incident wouldn't occur. For example, if the animal that bit the woman had a history or aggressive behavior, then it probably shouldn't have been exposed to so many patrons.

Much like dog owners, zoos could be held responsible for the behavior of their animals.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Black Rhino Bites Woman's Finger At Denver Zoo," Aug. 28, 2013

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