Lawsuit triggered by tiger attack

Avatar BCR | June 15, 2007 72 Views 0 Likes 0 Ratings

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Lawsuit triggered by tiger attack





WOODSTOCK – An Iowa man has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $50,000 against a McHenry County circus-training facility, where he alleges that he was mauled by a white tiger in July 2005.


Craig Perry, 42, of Center Point, Iowa, said an unprovoked tiger mauled his left leg moments before he was to pose with 14 of the animals for photographs at an arena on Hawthorn Crop.’s property, at 9819 N. Solon Road, Richmond.


Perry is the owner of Iowa-based Perry’s Wilderness and Zoo Inc. He had planned to use the photos in advertising to promote an exhibit at the Lake County Fair, according to his attorney, John Saletta.


The law suit seeks damages from Hawthorn Corp. and tiger trainer Wade Burck for medical bills and pain and suffering.


“Wade Burck was standing up tigers in an arena and invited Mr. Perry into that arena,” Saletta said. “When [Perry] went in the arena, the tigers were standing on stools, but one of the tigers circled around him and attacked.”


Perry required immediate surgery and still suffered from scars and nerve damage, Saletta said.


“Craig Perry had no knowledge of the tiger’s propensity to violence, and therefore, at no time, did [the] plaintiff knowingly and voluntarily expose himself to being mauled by the tigers,” according to the lawsuit.


An attorney for the Hawthorn Corp. on Wednesday said that he had no knowledge of the lawsuit, but that another attorney in his firm worked more closely with the company. That other attorney was unavailable for comment  Wednesday.


No one answered the phone Wednesday at the Grayslake residence of John Cuneo, who owns Hawthorn Corp.


The facility where the alleged attack occurred is the same facility that was charged in April 2003 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with 47 violations of the Animal Welfare Act after 16 of its elephants were exposed to a human strain of tuberculosis.


In May 2004, Hawthorn Corp. admitted to 14 animal-welfare violations and agreed to pay a $200,000 fine and remove the elephants from the property.

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