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North Harris County animal park under investigation after series of animal attacks

HOUSTON – Channel 2 Investigates has learned after reviewing a series of lawsuits that a north Harris County exotic animal park has had a series of animal attacks in the last 10 years.

The most recent incident put Gabrialle Gonzalez, a park employee, in a hospital with 19 lacerations after she was attacked by a warthog.  

At least four separate incidents have given way to two settled lawsuits, according to a lawyer who twice sued TGR Exotics Wildlife Park.

"At the time it was apparent they were trying to be zookeepers but they didn't have the necessary experience and capacity to do that," David Kallus, an attorney, said Tuesday.

TGR Exotics appears to hold the necessary federal permit to operate the park at 22115 Sherrod Land in Spring.

But Tuesday, it remained unclear whether the U.S.Department of Agriculture, the federal regulatory agency in charge of permitting such parks, or the Harris County Health Department, the local regulatory body, had opened investigations. Calls to both agencies had not been returned by late Tuesday afternoon.

The exotic animal park sits in a subdivision and houses at least a hyena, a warthog and a tiger, among other wild animals.

A warthog on the property was involved in a similar incident involving the park's owner less than two months ago.

An incident in 2009 involved a prospective employee who was bitten by the hyena. In 2012, another park employee, a female was attacked by an exotic variety of Bearcat.

Each of the latter incidents was settled out of court.

"They were having young, inexperienced, untrained kids basically acting as zookeepers. That's a recipe for disaster," Kallus said.

Attempts to reach TGR Exotics management by phone and in person Monday and Tuesday were unsuccessful.