MADISON (WKOW) -- A California woman who was kicked by a twelve-foot giraffe at the Vilas Zoo in Madison tells a newspaper she will fight a citation she received for disregarding zoo barriers to get to the animal.
"I got hit in the face by a giraffe," 24-year old Amanda Hall of Tehachapi tells the L.A. Times.
"I don't need a fine and this on my record. I don't 'harass' zoo animals. I'm an animal lover," Hall tells the newspaper.
Authorities say Hall disregarded a low, initial barrier and stood by a wood barrier as the 2-year old male giraffe named Wally first licked her, but then kicked her. Hall tells the L.A. Times she received ten stitches to her lip.
Madison Police spokesperson Joel DeSpain says zoo officials urged officers to cite Hall.
"There needs to be a line drawn in the sand, so to speak, in this case, at the giraffe exhibit," DeSpain tells 27 News. "You just can't go as close as she did," DeSpain says.
Vilas Zoo deputy director Jeff Halter tells 27 News it's unfortunate Hall was kicked, but says it was likely a warning kick. Halter says a giraffe has been known to kill a pursuing lion with a kick.
Halter says a zoo visitor climbing over barriers could have also caused the animal to sprint in its enclosure and risk injury.
Halter says arrangements are made under staff supervision for people to feed the giraffes, but says it is only done at two, high, chain-link type fences, where the giraffes can reach over with their long-necks to eat only.
"It's not that far a distance from here," zoo visitor Caitlin Cieslik-Miskimen of Madison notes of the giraffe enclosure and the viewing area. "But for someone to go from the sidewalk into an enclosure seems a little foolish and a little misguided."
Halter says the barriers are sufficient to safely separate the exhibits' two giraffes and zoo visitors.
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