It's not always easy to see where that 15 minutes of fame is going to come from. For Amanda Hall it came with a hoof in the face.

All across the U.S. and in Canada, readers are being treated to the exploits of the 24-year-old San Luis Obispo, California, woman who breached two fences on Saturday to get close and personal with Wally the Giraffe at the Vilas Zoo, only to get kicked in the face by the 12-foot animal.

Well, she got licked, too.

A Google news search yields a growing list of hundreds of news stories on Hall's close encounter, including this one from the Los Angeles Times, which tracked the hapless animal lover down for an interview.  

“He had some grass and nuzzled my head,” said Hall, who's nursing a wound below her lip that required about 10 stitches. “He licked me and then I got a kick to the chin. It was a shock.”

Hall, who admitted hopping the 3-foot fence, said she's planning to challenge the $686 fine she was issued for harassment of a zoo animal.

“I got hit in the face by a giraffe," she said. "I had to deal with all that. That was a lot of pain to deal with already. I don’t need a fine and this on my record. I don’t 'harass' zoo animals. I’m an animal lover.”

But she apologized to the zoo for "stepping over the line."

And the incident made for a lesson learned.

“Obviously I won’t do it again,” she said. The barricade is “there for a reason. I just didn’t think twice about it. I just didn’t think it was a big deal.”

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Steven Elbow joined The Capital Times in 1999 and has covered law enforcement in addition to city, county and state government. He has also worked for the Portage Daily Register and has written for the Isthmus weekly newspaper in Madison.

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