UPDATE: Monday, August 18, 2014 ---

A California woman is facing a nearly $700 fine after police say she decided to get friendly with the giraffe at Madison's Henry Vilas Zoo.

Police say the 24-year-old woman says she was simply drawn to the animals so she entered the giraffe exhibit, only to get kicked in the face.

Wally the giraffe is 1,600 pounds of spotted mammal, and although he's spent his whole life in the Midwest, he's still got some African in him.

"They still are wild animals and have all of the instincts that wild animals have," says Deputy Zoo Director, Jeff Halter.

It was just after 5:30 on Saturday night when police say Amanda Hall was visiting Henry Vilas Zoo from California.

"She wanted to have that special contact, she loves giraffe," says Halter.

But apparently the giraffe lover needed more than a picture of Wally. So she hopped the barriers, and entered the exhibit.

Showing some love at first, witnesses say the giraffe licked Hall, but quickly turned around and kicked her in the face.

"Giraffe can kick really hard, their legs are about 6 ft long and there have been incidents of giraffe kicking and killing lions that are in pursuit of them," Halter adds.

He says Hall was taken to the hospital with a gash below her lip, he says she's very fortunate that's all that happened.

"They're beautiful, it's really important to respect them as wild animals they are not pets," says Halter.

A lesson even 4-year-old Monica has learned.

"You can't go in an animals cage even if it's a lion because they can hurt you."

The zoo says it will be more vigilant with watching to make sure no one else does this, and asks everyone else to help out as well

Police say Hall is back in California and zoo officials say they're lucky nothing worse happened.


Madison police say a California woman was cited after climbing into the giraffe exhibit at Henry Vilas Zoo and getting kicked in the face.

A police report says 24-year-old Amanda Hall of San Luis Obispo, California climbed over one fence and almost got over the second fence of the giraffe enclosure at the Henry Vilas Zoo about 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

A 2-year-old, 12-foot-tall giraffe named Wally gave Hall a lick, then turned and kicked her in the face.

Zoo staff told police that giraffes are capable of killing lions, so the woman was fortunate that her injuries were not life-threatening.

Police ticketed Hall for harassment of zoo animals, which has a fine of $686.

The police report says Hall told officers she climbed into the exhibit because she loves giraffes.