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Courtney Hutchins Charged With Child Abuse After Bobcat Mauls Her Son

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Carlsbad Police
Carlsbad Police

A New Mexico mother has been charged with child abuse after a bobcat mauled her son at a zoo.

Courtney Hutchins, 22, was taken into custody Tuesday. The original incident took place on March 18, when she allegedly climbed over a safety barrier with her 3-year-old son, Ethan, at Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park in Carlsbad, N.M, so they could get a closer look at the big cats, the New York Daily News reported.

The bobcat exhibit is separated from the public by a 40-inch high set of rails and an inner fence, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported.

The rails and the inner fence are separated by a cactus-filled two-foot gap, according to KOB.

Hutchins, Ethan, and her brother, LeeVon Hutchins, had climbed the rails and were standing close to the inner fence when a bobcat swiped through the fence and scratched the 3-year-old in the head, giving him wounds that required eight skull staples.

There are signs at the facility warning visitors not to cross the protective barrier, and investigators say the only way to get past the rails would be to climb over them.

However, police say Hutchins told them she hadn't seen any warning signs, and that she did not know what a "barrier" was before she heard police use the word.

Hutchins reportedly told investigators she had taken her son to the zoo to "be a good mom."

Hutchins has been released from jail on $5,000 bond.

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