A woman stuck her hand in a lion cage and lost a finger to the wild animal in Michigan Saturday, according to reports. Renae Ferguson is now planning legal action against the Sunrise Side Nature Trail and Exotic Park for not preventing her from putting her finger in the cage.
The woman who stuck her hand in the lion cage had been visiting the exhibit with her daughter. Ferguson said that she was simply petting the big cat when it suddenly snapped and bit her middle finger.
"I put my hand down there to pet it and it ripped my finger," she told WNEM news. "I was in total shock. I really didn't believe that was part of my finger laying on the ground."
Ferguson also alleged that when the zoo owners found out about the incident, they told her not to say anything to anyone.
"They just told me not to tell. They told me to lie," the mother said.
However, employees at the Sunrise Side Nature Trail and Exotic Park said that Ferguson had stuck her finger in the cage against their explicit orders not to. Owners also said that there are multiple warning signs around the lions' enclosure telling visitors not to attempt to pet them.
"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," owners said via email.
Now Ferguson and her daughter are planning on taking legal action against the zoo for the vicious bite. She said she doesn't want to see the exhibits shut down, but that there should be more protection for visitors.
"I would like to see more precautions taken to protect the people as well as the animals," Tina Dobson, Ferguson's daughter, told WNEM.
Ferguson said she will never reach into a lion enclosure again, no matter how tempting.
"They are beautiful, but don't do it," she said.
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