The escape of a 350-pound gorilla at the Dallas Zoo last year may cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars as it defends itself against three lawsuits.
The lawsuits all claim that the city was negligent because it made little attempt to sedate or recapture the gorilla quickly and did not have a tranquilizer gun ready. They also say the city created an "unreasonable risk of escape" by "providing an inadequate enclosure to confine wild and dangerous gorillas."
The plaintiffs say the rampage has not only cost them tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills but also has caused long-lasting emotional trauma for them and their families.
"My son, Rivers, has regressed a lot," said Amos Heard, whose 3-year-old son and wife were injured in the March 2004 incident. "Before, he was all boy. He loved to wrestle, just to run, throw rocks, climb trees. Outgoing, you know. Shortly after, he just wasn't himself. He cried a lot. He slept with us every night."