COURT HOUSE – A lawsuit claims that a cow popular with visitors to the county zoo injured a young girl when the animal swung its head, hitting the 14-year-old in the head and causing “serious personal injury.”
In a complaint filed this month in Cape May County Superior Court, lawyers for the Salem County girl said the black and white cow, named Jilly, swung its head “violently and aggressively,” striking their client’s head, causing it to “forcefully snap back” and knocking her down while she posed for a photo with the animal in the petting zoo section of the county facility.
The now-16-year-old plaintiff sustained permanent injuries as a result of the Nov. 6, 2021, incident, including scarring, according to the civil action. The suit went on to say she suffered great pain and will suffer great pain in the future as a result of the cow’s movement.
The girl incurred hospital and medical expenses and will have more expenses resulting from the incident in the future, the suit said. She was unable to attend to her “customary duties” and will also be prevented from doing so in the course of time as a result of the injuries, according to the complaint.
An attorney for the county took issue with the suit’s account of the incident in a statement to the Herald.
Jeffrey R. Lindsay, the county counsel, said the county doesn’t comment on pending litigation, but “disagrees with plaintiff counsel’s characterization of this incident.”
“We intend to vigorously defend the matter,” Lindsay added. The county has not yet responded to the suit in court.
The girl’s lawyers claimed the cow that caused the injury was advertised as a “friendly petting and feeding attraction.” They claim the zoo was negligent by failing to warn patrons of a “dangerous condition,” not having proper barricades, failing to maintain a safe condition and allowing their client and other members of the public to be close to a dangerous condition.
Named as defendants in the suit are the county, the Cape May County Zoo, the Cape May County Zoological Society, Middle Township and the state. The plaintiff seeks unspecified damages, attorney fees, court costs and interest.
Representatives of the Cape May County Zoo did not respond to an inquiry from the Herald. The case was assigned to Judge James H. Pickering Jr.
The county’s free zoo is a popular tourist attraction that raises revenue by soliciting donations at the gate. In a 2019 Facebook post, the zoo published a photo of Jilly accompanied by a caption that included the information that the cow enjoys “licking zoo visitors.”
Contact the author, Shay Roddy, at email@example.com or 609-886-8600, ext. 142.