Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mum Demands Compo After Bunny Attack Injures Girl

Darebin Council has rejected a compensation claim for a toddler bitten by a rabbit at a petting zoo.

Charlii, nearly 2, had to have plastic surgery after the rabbit nearly bit off the first joint of her left index finger during a visit to the council-owned Cooper's Settlement farm at Bundoora Park in April.

Charlii only pointed at the rabbit and did not touch it, her mother, Laura Perry, from Lalor, said.

"She pointed at it and it bit her finger. It nearly took the end of the finger off," she said.

"There was just blood everywhere."

The little girl spent a night in the Northern Hospital having emergency plastic surgery.

Her hand was in a bandage for two weeks and her finger is scarred.

"It was so disturbing for her. She's been having nightmares ever since it happened," Mrs Perry said.

"In my opinion, if you have a petting zoo which kids that age are allowed to go in, you've got a responsibility to make sure that they're OK."

The council rejected Mrs Perry's written request for compensation for pain and suffering.

Council risk services manager Liam McCarthy said the rabbit was immediately moved to a separate enclosure after the incident.

"All rabbits are subjected to a suitability and personality check before being made available for handling," he said.

He said signs at the enclosure clearly stated that rabbits may scratch or bite if handled roughly.

Mr McCarthy said animals that misbehaved were sold and six people had been pecked or bitten at the farm in the past year, out of more than 22,000 visitors.

Supervisory staff were present at all times, but signs stated that parents should supervise children.

Reservoir lawyer Barrie Woollacott, who specialises in public liability claims at Slater and Gordon, said the injury was probably too small to qualify for pain and suffering compensation.

- leadernews.com.au - Melinda Marshall

SJ Note: Maybe it was the dangerous rabbit from Monty Python's - The Holy Grail