Friday, October 28, 2005

Suit Settled Over Chimpanzee Bite

A lawsuit has been settled between a woman who claims a chimpanzee bit off two of her fingers last fall and the Wild Wilderness Drive Thru Safari in Gentry.

The settlement amount was not disclosed.

Carol Baker filed the suit in Benton County Circuit Court, saying she suffered permanent injuries, disfigurement and scarring, medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life and earning capacity.

According to the suit, Baker was being paid to feed the wild animals. On Oct. 9, 2004, she was getting ready to feed a chimpanzee when the animal reached through the bars of its cage, grabbed her clothing and pulled her inside. It grabbed her left arm and hand and "bit off much of her hand, including two fingers," the suit stated.

The safari failed to warn of a known hazard, failed to reasonably protect "third-party business invitees" from a known and foreseeable hazard, and failed to maintain a wild and dangerous animal in a manner that would protect innocent third parties from injury, the suit stated.

The suit sought compensatory damages, costs and attorneys' fees, and was filed by attorney G. Chadd Mason of Fayetteville.

In its answer, the safari admitted Baker was bitten by the chimp -- but said the injuries were caused by her own contributory negligence.

"A chimp can be a wild animal, but it is denied that this particular chimp was a wild animal," the safari responded through its attorney, James Crouch of Springdale.

Story here.

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