Reporting Rachel Slavik
NORTH BRANCH (WCCO) — A 5-year-old North Branch girl is recovering after an unusual run-in with a bat at a retail store.
On these final days of summer, Zoe Zachrison would normally be enjoying the outdoors. Instead, she’s barely able to move, all because of what happened on a trip to a Wal-Mart in Cambridge.
“She’s very traumatized,” said Holly Townley, Zoe’s mother.
Last week, Zoe and her mom were grocery shopping.
“She was sitting in the child part of the cart, minding her own business,” said Holly.
When they walked down the frozen food section, they encountered the unexpected visitor.
“The bat flew down the pizza aisle, flew back at us, flew down and landed on her, attacking her and bit her leg,” said Holly.
Her left leg still has a mark from the bat bite. On her right leg, is a mark from the painful treatment that followed.
“She had a series of three shots for rabies,” said Holly.
Although doctors don’t know for sure whether or not the bat had rabies, they consider it rabid because bats don’t bite, Holy said.
The attack itself was traumatizing, but the treatment’s side effects are causing even more problems.
“She had a 103-degree temp, very achy, sore joints — almost as if she were a 90-year-old man,” said Holly.
After three trips to the emergency room, Holly asked Wal-Mart to help to pay medical bills, but she said they refused.
“I think Wal-Mart needs to step up and take responsibility for what happened to her. This was their store and this is their responsibility,” said Holly.
Holly is ready to take her claim to court, but, right now, her focus is on helping her daughter heal.
“She’s scared. She refuses to go into stores, doesn’t want to leave the house,” said Holly.
According to Holly, Wal-Mart claimed they aren’t responsible for any costs tied to that bat attack.
Wal-Mart Senior Manager for Media Relations Dianna Gee said the store has a claims process for incidents within their stores.
“We hired a pest management company, but have never had a problem with bats at that store. Management at that store is very concerned about the little girl,” said Gee. “It’s an unusual and unfortunate incident.”