Halloween is an excuse for all sorts of misbehavior, but one woman put her life in danger by breaking into the tiger enclosure at a zoo in Nebraska.
Not only did the woman receive a citation for criminal trespass, she was left with injuries from the big cat that she wanted to pet so badly. Jacqueline Eide, 33, sneaked past security guards and broke into the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha on Halloween night, writes Susannah Cullinane for CNN.
Victim may have been under the influence at the time of the incident
According to a statement from the Omaha Police Department the tiger was apparently less than impressed by the unexpected visit and bit Eide, who was later taken to Creighton University Medical Center.
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Eide’s night of fun was not over, and officers were called “regarding a disturbance” at the hospital. According to police, “Eide was aggressive toward staff and showed signs of intoxication of alcohol and/or drugs.”
“Through investigation, it was learned that Eide had made unauthorized entry into the Zoo to pet a tiger. When she reached into the cage, she was bitten causing severe trauma to her hand,” police said. Eide has been cited for criminal trespass and is still in hospital.
Zoo to implement additional safety measures
According to KETV Eide could lose her fingers as a result of the bite. Eide has several prior convictions for derelict behavior and served time in prison for her third DUI in 2011. This year she has been arrested in Omaha twice and has previous convictions for drunk driving, graffiti, disturbing the peace, obstruction of justice and shoplifting.
A spokesman for the zoo said that two people were caught trespassing “after hours on Halloween night,” one of whom had sustained injuries. “The tiger believed to have been involved in the incident was Mai, an 18-year-old, Malayan tiger,” it said.
Dennis Pate, executive director for the zoo, informed the press that safety and security of guests were paramount at the facility. “Emergency phone numbers are printed on maps for guests to call in case of an emergency, and security staff keep watch on grounds around the clock,” he said.
KPTM reported that the zoo will be implementing extra safety measures to prevent such an incident from occurring again. The incident is still under investigation but it appears the Mai will not be quarantined. The zoo has refused to release video footage of the incident.
Bizarre incident cannot be blamed on zoo
The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is one of only 230 facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. One caveat of membership is the occurrence of multiple safety drills per year in order to train staff in a rapid and appropriate response to emergency situations.
Given the fact that the incident occurred after hours and involved a woman intent on passing undetected, there is little that the zoo could do to prevent her injuries. Eide may come to regret her sudden desire to pet a dangerous animal.
While stories of Halloween pranks fill the news this week, it must be said that some are funnier than others. Eide’s adventure may have seemed like a good idea at the time but it has only resulted in injury and another citation.
Perhaps it would be wise for her to stick to trick-or-treating next Halloween.