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Wife of judge who was attacked by zebra talks about accident

The wife of the Judge who was attacked by a zebra in Searcy explained how it happened and what injuries he acquired. White County District Judge Mark Derrick is at UAMS in Little Rock after he was attacked by his father's zebra in Searcy on March 15. A grandfather clause allows the family to have exotic animals. "It's a zoo over there," said Mark Derrick's wife, Shannon. Shannon said Mark was collecting manure for a garden in his father's yard when he went to put the shovel in the truck. The zebra attacked him as he was reaching for the door of his truck. "Before he could reach the door, the zebra just attacked him, knocked him down, grabbed him by the left arm and started slinging his head. His bicep was totally chewed up and torn," said Shannon. Mark tried to fight off the zebra by punching him in the eye but it caused the zebra to bite his other arm. Shannon said the artery in his left arm was severed and he was without blood supply for eight hours. He suffered several bruises and fractures and on Saturday he'll have a seventh surgery. "I honestly have been scared of the wild animals because they're still wild to me," said Shannon. "Zebras have completely unpredictable behaviors," said Little Rock Zoo Spokesperson, Susan Altrui. She said even for someone who's been around zebras their whole life, like Derrick, they can still be aggressive in an instant. "Anything can set a zebra off, a scent, a smell, or a sound. Anything can that trigger that wild instinct," said Altrui. But even with all his injuries, Shannon said her husband is looking forward to trading in his hospital gown for a judge's robe. "He keeps saying, 'I've got court next week, I've got to get back,'" said Shannon. Shannon said Judge Derrick walked around the hospital halls on Thursday and has been practicing writing. She said the family is planning on selling the zebra. FROM ORIGINAL REPORT ON HOW THE DERRICK'S CAN HAVE WILD ANIMALS: Searcy city attorney Buck Gibson said while it's illegal to have wild animal in the city limits of Searcy, a preexisting 'non-conforming use' or what some may call a grandfather clause states the wild animals were already on the property before the annex., in turn, making the wild animals on the property legal.
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