Reeds Spring teen's family sues over tiger attack

Saturday, March 28, 2009 | 4:12 p.m. CDT

BRANSON — The family of a Reeds Spring teen who was left paralyzed after a tiger attack last summer has filed suit against the Branson animal park where the attack occurred.

Dakoda Wood lost the use of his arms and legs after being bitten in the neck Aug. 4 by a tiger at Branson Interactive Zoo and Aquarium, also called Predator World, said Steven Garner, one of his attorneys.

Garner said the boy's condition was "not good."

Besides the park, the suit names as defendants owner Breck Wakefield, Branson West Entertainment and others.

The lawsuit filed in Galena is seeking an undetermined but "fair and reasonable" amount of money to pay for Wood's immediate and long-term medical expenses, loss of lifetime income and other expenses.

The suit accuses the zoo owners of negligence for allowing Wood to enter the cage alone.

"Just kind of playing Russian roulette with the kid," Garner said.

An attorney for the park declined to comment on the suit.

The park said in a statement that the 16-year-old was an unpaid intern and had entered the tigers' cage to take a picture of the animals for some zoo customers. Officials have said Wood had been told not to enter the cage by himself.

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