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12 Dangerous Encounters

Animal Attacks and Pet Mishaps End in Disaster

— February 24, 2009 — Eco
Sometimes, scary pet incidents have a ‘no harm done’ outcome, sometimes not.
With more and more people keeping wild creatures as pets, negative incidents are
likely to be on the rise. Animals attacking humans is sad because of the harm that
is done to the humans and because the animals usually end up dead as a result.

Dog bites are some of the most common pet attacks. According to dogsbite.org, in the U.S., nearly 5
million people are bitten by dogs each year. Some of those are fatal, others inflict
disfiguration or other physical damage, as in 2005 when Isabelle Dinoire’s dog
ripped her face to shreds, and the woman had to have a face-transplant to return
functionality. (see related trends.)

As if traditional pets don’t pose enough of a challenge, many people insist on
keeping exotic pets or interacting with wild animals as if they were pets. Some
results of those relationships follow:

1. Travis, the chimp of Old Navy commercials, ripped a woman’s face off this week.
She was assisting the chimp’s owner who was trying to get the chimp to return to
the house when the chimp attacked. 2009

2. Melissa and Anthony Melendrez face felony abuse and neglect charges. Their
18-foot pet python, Eve, bit and coiled around their 3-year-old son rendering him
unconscious. Only the boy’s feet were visible when Mom noticed. 2009

3. Animal handler Peter Getz was mauled to death by a liger when the handler
entered the animal’s cage while it was feeding, a stiff penalty for violation of the
animal sanctuary’s rules. 2008

4. Steve Irwin, famous for his wild-animal daring, was pierced though the heart by
a stingray while filming for a show. 2006

5. St. James and LaDonna Davis were beaten by chimpanzees while visiting another
chimp they had raised. Mr. Davis was severely disfigured. 2005

6. Steve Aibel was body-slammed multiple times by a killer whale while performing
with him at Sea World. 2004

7. A bengal tiger named Ming had to be removed from a Harlem apartment after
biting its owner, Antoine Yates, on the arm and leg. The tiger now lives on an Ohio
refuge. 2003

8. In Dayton, Ohio a poisonous pet african rhino viper killed its owner Michael
Peterma with a single bite. 2003

9. Timothy Treadwell lived with grizzly bears for 13 summers. His luck ran out
when a bear decided Tim would be a tasty snack. 2003

10. Joan Byron-Marasek ran a tiger refuge but New Jersey officials shut it down
after one of the tigers mauled the woman’s husband. 2003

11. Siegfried and Roy’s tiger show came to an end after Roy fell off stage and was
critically injured when one of the tigers dragged him away. 2003

12. Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall are the sole bright spot in this list.
They returned to visit a lion they’d purchased as a pet after sending him to an
African refuge. They got a great-big cat hug and no one was injured. 1972
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