A Michigan woman says she is planning on taking legal action against a zoo for not doing more to prevent one of its lions from biting off part of her finger – after she claims she was given permission to enter the lion’s cage with her daughter.

Renae Ferguson says a worker at Sunrise Side Nature Trail and Exotic Park outside of East Texas allowed her and her daughter, Tina Dobson, full access to the lion’s cage, reports the Daily Mail.

According to Ferguson, one of the lions she was petting bit her hand without warning and took off the tip of her middle finger.

“I was in total shock,” Furguson said. “I really didn’t believe that was part of my finger laying on the ground.”

The woman says she has no intention of trying to shut the zoo down, but feels workers’ response to the incident was not helpful.

“They just told me not to tell,” she said. “They told me to lie.”

Ferguson's daughter backs up her account and they both believe that the zoo should take more precautions to ensure the safety of its patrons, as well as protect its animals.

But zoo officials argue that the woman ignored numerous warnings and signs posted around the establishment and that she snuck into the cage without permission.

“The lady went into the security area and was told by the guide to get back and the lady stated she wanted to touch the lion and continued, against the guide’s warning, to put her finger inside the fence and the lion nipped the end of her finger,” the owners stated in an email.

Source: Daily Mail, NY Daily News

Photo Credit: William Warby/Flickr, WNEM Screenshot