Ah, petting zoos. They seem so innocent, all those pretty horses letting you stroke their manes just like a real-life Sunday morning cartoon. It's great! Until the horse gets a taste for human blood, that is, and decides to bite the thumb right off your hand.
That's exactly what Ann Lavecchia says happened to her at Calder Race Course a couple years back. Now she's suing the Miami Gardens racetrack over the gruesome injury allegedly inflicted by a horse named Victor.
According to Lavecchia's suit, which was filed a few days ago in Miami-Dade Circuit Court and posted to Courthouse News Service, the Palm Beach resident went to a "Festival of the Sun" and horse fair at the racetrack in October 2008.
Part of the fair included a "horse petting area," where Lavecchia enjoyed stroking several racehorses for a while.
Then she started petting Victor. The horse promptly chomped Lavecchia's thumb, according to the complaint, and when she tried to yank her hand out "the horse crushed (her) right thumb and tore it off ... before spitting it out."
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Lavecchia eventually had to amputate the digit, leading to "permanent disabling and disfiguring injuries."
She says that Calder should have known Victor wasn't safe to put in the petting zoo and that staff should have better supervised the horses. She's suing for pain, anguish and medical costs.
A spokeswoman for Calder tells Riptide the company has a policy of not commenting on ongoing lawsuits.