LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ — The woman injured by a jaguar at The Wildlife World Zoo apologized Sunday, saying she was in the wrong after crossing a barrier to take a selfie with the big cat.
The woman told zoo officials she loves the zoo and feels bad for the negative publicity the park has received after the incident Saturday evening.
The woman had to have stitches, but was released by the hospital the same day.
This is the second time someone has been injured at the jaguar exhibit.
Jeff Allan tells ABC15, he was hurt by the same cat last summer. Allan said he was reaching over a barrier to take a video and that's when the animal clawed him. "I never climbed over a barrier. I never stepped over a barrier I was behind the barrier and just reached my arm out," said Allan.
Allan said he got eight stitches and even hired an attorney hoping the zoo would add more protection between visitors and the animals.
He said the case never went to court. "I didn't even want money. All my wife and I wanted was... I mean a kid could cross over this barrier if he wanted to. If my 3-year-old grandson wanted to cross over this barrier he could do it."
Allan shared cell phone video of the incident with ABC15. You can watch the video in the player above. [Warning: Video contains graphic images not suitable for all viewers]
Wildlife World Zoo spokeswoman Kristy Morcom said the barriers at the park meet federal guidelines. "We are taking into consideration all aspects of safety pertaining to this exhibit as well as throughout the entire park because that is our biggest concern."
The jaguar has been taken out of the exhibit while the incident is under investigation. Officials say it will not be euthanized because they say it was not the animal's fault.
"People need to respect the barriers and understand they are put in place for the safety of everyone," said Morcom.
Zoo officials say these are the only two injury-related incidents in recent memory at the Litchfield Park facility.