Washington, DC, October 26, 2008: A wolf escaped last night from the Georgetown Zoo, leading law enforcement personnel on a chase through the streets of Georgetown and into a local mall before being subdued and ultimately killed.
The wolf slipped into the Greater Washington Mall before it was captured, and while animal control officials announced this morning that no civilians were killed in the course of the pursuit, at least one woman was bitten. Lawrence Talbot, a clerk at the Pets Galore outlet in the mall, noted, “This girl was with her boyfriend, looking at puppies, when suddenly this huge animal came running into the shop.”
His immediate concern was that the animal had escaped from the back room of the shop. “At first I thought it was a dog,” Talbot said, “but as soon as it jumped on her, I could tell it wasn’t one of ours.”
An unnamed police officer pursued the animal into the mall and was the first to arrive on the scene as the woman, 21-year-old Jennifer Williams of Falls Church, VA, was being attacked. His arrival forced the wolf to flee, and when he cornered it a short time later in a Halloween store temporarily occupying space on the lower level. He was forced to put it down.
Ms. Williams was taken to a local hospital emergency room, where her injuries were pronounced non-life-threatening. At press time she was still under strict quarantine, and even family members were refused permission to see her.
Georgetown Zoo officials had no explanation for the animal’s escape, and believe it may have been the result of vandalism on the part of teenagers who were seen entering the zoo after hours. Police personnel indicated that they are examining security video in an attempt to identify the teens.