updated 10/8/2009 12:41:39 PM ET 2009-10-08T16:41:39

A 3-year-old boy was wounded when a 45-pound European lynx clawed him through a chain-link fence at a zoo, the zoo's director said Tuesday.

The boy was looking at swans at the Little River Zoo on Monday when he left a path and went under a rope barrier, over a low retaining wall and up to the fence surrounding the cat's enclosure, zoo director Janet Schmid said. The cat was able to get its paw through the chain link.

Schmid said the boy, whom she did not identify, was scratched on the side of his head.

"Before he went to the hospital, the bleeding had already stopped and the emergency medical technician had said he could be treated right there at the zoo but the father asked that he be taken to the hospital," she said.

The Daily Oklahoman reported that the boy received seven staples in the back of the head and 15 stitches under his eye and on his throat. The newspaper also identified the boy as Ethan Billy and reported that he was 2 years old.

The cat's outside enclosure, which is not part of the regular exhibits at the zoo, has a fenced-in top.

Caring for zoo seniors The zoo placed the lynx in an inside enclosure and built a solid fence to keep the public away from the outside area.

Norman police Capt. Leonard Judy said there was no indication any law was broken and referred comment to the zoo director.

Schmid said the facility complies with all applicable federal regulations.

"We've never had an incident like that," she said. "We're looking at that situation."

Schmid said the lynx, which is between 2 and 3 years old and has been at the zoo since birth, will be kept inside for 10 days while it is observed by a veterinarian.

David Sacks, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has regulatory oversight of zoos, said his agency will have an inspector look into the incident.

This report was supplemented with information from The Daily Oklahoman.

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