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Pet store faces lawsuit after python bites man in face

Updated February 29, 2020 - 3:33 pm

A lawsuit filed by a Clark County man claims he was snakebit during a visit to a Las Vegas pet store when a Burmese python sank its fangs into his face.

The suit was filed Thursday by Michael Zorzi against Exotic Pets Las Vegas at 2410 N. Decatur Boulevard.

Zorzi’s attorney, Neal Hyman, wrote in the suit that on July 5, Zorzi and his girlfriend were looking at a Burmese python when a store employee used a snake hook to remove the snake from its cage.

“As he did so, the snake viciously bit and attached its mouth/fangs to plaintiff’s face/eye, bit him, and caused serious/permanent injury,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit contends that Zorzi’s eye was punctured, causing his vision to be impaired.

The pet store’s owner, however, said the lawsuit is baseless. Owner Ken Foose said Zorzi was warned not to handle the snake but instead put his face in close proximity to the serpent’s.

“We have witnesses and we have regular customers who witnessed the whole thing,” Foose told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Friday.

Foose also said his insurance company investigated the allegation and found it meritless.

The store’s Facebook page said the store has been in business for 24 years.

Zorzi’s lawsuit claims that the “subject snake” at Exotic Pets was not properly inspected or tested for safety or “violent tendencies.” The suit also alleges that the snake was not properly cared for and that, by allowing Zorzi to hold the snake, the store was engaging in “ultra-hazardous and abnormally dangerous activity.”

The lawsuit said that Exotic Pets “knew the Subject Snake was dangerous and or would bite/attack, and claimed the plaintiff should have known the same even though defendant did not warn plaintiff,” the lawsuit states.

According to the lawsuit, the bite caused Zorzi excruciating pain and caused him to incur medical bills exceeding $10,000. Zorzi expects he will eventually need eye surgery, according to the document.

The lawsuit seeks general and specific damages in excess of $15,000, punitive damages in excess of $15,000, and attorney’s fees.

Contact Glenn Puit at gpuit@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0390. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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