Ouch! Tiger Bites Off Zoo Worker's Pinky

Girl recovering after Sunday's attack

LURAY, Va. -- A 16-year-old Luray Zoo employee is recovering after being bitten by a tiger.

The female employee was showing the animal to a group of visitors Sunday when the 5-year-old Bengal tiger named Star bit her through its cage as she tried to pet it, said zoo co-owner Jennifer Westhoff.

The girl lost her left pinky and suffered lacerations to her hand. She was transported to the University of Virginia Medical Center and was expected to be released Wednesday.

Star grabbed the girl's hand, then got spooked and bit her when a visitor jumped a perimeter fence to help the girl, according to Westhoff.

The zoo is the only rescue zoo in Virginia. It houses 260 animals, mostly reptiles, on four acres.

Star is the zoo's only tiger, and Westhoff said she would remain there.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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