She went to the Henry Doorly Zoo on Halloween night, and investigators believe she put her hand in a tiger cage when the animal attacked. Her attorney, James Martin Davis, made her initial appearance and pleads not guilty in Douglas Co. Court on Tuesday.
Jacqueline Eide, 33, is charged with trespassing, contributing to the delinquency of a child, and criminal mischief; all misdemeanors.
She's accused of being intoxicated at the Henry Doorly Zoo after hours. Police say she tried to pet the zoo's 3-legged, Malayan tiger when it bit her in the left hand. She went to the hospital and had surgery on a few of her fingers.
Davis says she was at an event at the zoo on Halloween night for the Spooktacular event, and just never left.
"She says she wasn't trying to pet the tiger, what she says is that she had her hands on the bars and the tiger came over to her and a lion next door roared and she thought that shocked the tiger and the tiger nipped her," Davis described.
Prosecutors charged Eide with 3 misdemeanors including contributing to the delinquency of a child since a 16-year-old boy was with her trespassing.
"It is totally inappropriate to sneak into the zoo, be in there when you're not supposed to be there, and mess around with the zoo's animals. Those are very dangerous and priceless assets for the zoo," said Interim City Prosecutor Tom Mumgaard.
Davis says Eide didn't have her fingers ripped off; only a few small parts of her fingers were bitten. Davis says Eide has a connection with this tiger and has visited him before legally, since she has a zoo pass.
"She's certainly sorry for what she's done she didn't realize that it was going to cause such consternation,” Davis explained. “But I've told her you never get involved with an animal that has big jaws, big claws, and big paws."
The case has their next court date scheduled in February.