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Dublin Zoo Compensation of €25,000 for Boy who Witnessed Tapir Attack his Young Sister

A 10-year-old schoolboy has been awarded €25,000 in the Circuit Civil Court after he witnessed an attack at Dublin  on his toddler sister by a Brazilian tapir at Dublin Zoo. His parents were also injured as they fought to save their daughter Katie’s life in the incident.

Katie’s parents Daragh Owens and his wife, Patricia, fought off the crazed animal and sustained injuries themselves in the attack that took place in Dublin Zoo on 8th August 2013.

Barrister Francis McGagh, counsel for the family, told Judge Francis Comerford today Tuesday that the children, Katie and Ruairi had been in the tapir cage. Ruari, who is now 15 years old, witnessed the female tapir, which had earlier given birth to a calf, lift his two-year-old sister, Katie, in its mouth and violently shake her. The Court was also told that Ruari’s brother Cathal, who was only six at the time, had also seen the Tapir attack. Both boys, while not physically injured, had suffered significant psychological injury and trauma.

Graphic pictures of the injuries caused in the horror attack had been published in the Medical Journal.

Mr McGagh said the Zoological Society of Ireland, had also made a €25,000 zoo injury compensation settlement offer to Cathal, now aged 11, but Judge Comerford said that from medical reports Cathal seemed to have been more seriously affected by the attack on his sister. Cathal’s settlement hearing was adjourned until the court receives an up-to-date medical report. Personal Injury Compensation claims on behalf of Katie, her mother Patricia Frost, and her father, Daragh Owens, were also currently before the High Court.

Dublin Zoo was ordered to make donations of €2,500 each to both the Jack and Jill Foundation and to the Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice in December 2014 after the Zoological Society was prosecuted on the grounds of negligence in the District Court where the judge applied the Probation Act, thus avoiding a criminal conviction.