Local News

Aug 18, 2014 8:32 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

KSBY exclusively talks to SLO woman who was kicked in the face by giraffe at zoo

A Cal Poly grad is making headlines for getting kicked in the face by a giraffe. Police in Madison, Wisconsin said 24-year old Amanda Hall of San Luis Obispo hopped a fence at Henry Vilas Zoo to get closer to a giraffe named Wally.

Hall told KSBY News in an exclusive interview on Monday that she doesn't really even like zoos. She said the idea of caged animals doesn't sit well with her. However, she said when she found herself at one in Madison on Saturday around 4:00 p.m., she said she instantly connected with Wally.

"I grew up with cows and horses, so I just started feeding him and he was loving it, and like petting him, he licked me, he was super cute," said Hall.

Hall admitted to KSBY that she did step over a barricade.

She described what she hopped over as, "It was pretty much like a three-foot rocky, you know, along the pathway."

Once Hall passed the rocky barricade, she said there was still a second fence that separated her from Wally.

"I didn't think about it. I didn't see a sign. I saw him reaching through a piece of grass and I didn't even think twice about it. I literally just stepped over and walked a couple of steps and started feeding him," said Hall.

But Henry Vilas Zoo officials said it takes a concerted effort to hop the high fence.

Hall said when Wally whacked her in the face with his foot, the shock prevented her from feeling any immediate pain.

Hall said, "It hit my chin, so the bottom of my lip got cut open and right below my chin's really bruised and I didn't fall back or anything."

Alan Baker, the director of the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero, said he's heard it all. But animal lover or not, he said fences are there for a reason.

Baker said, "We're just always surprised that people make this giant leap that because they're in a zoo they're tame animals, and that's really very not true."

Henry Vilas officials said they're glad Hall wasn't more seriously hurt and Wally is okay as well. They add that Hall is lucky to be alive because a kick from a giraffe is powerful enough to kill a lion.

Hall said she got ten stitches in her lower lip. She also received a $686 fine from the local police, which she says she has already paid.

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