Editor Released After Being Bitten at Zoo

From a Times Staff Writer

Sharon Stone's husband Phil Bronstein was released from UCLA Medical Center on Wednesday after being bit by a Komodo dragon. As a pre-Father's Day surprise Saturday, Stone arranged for Bronstein, executive editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, to have a private audience with the tamer of the two Indonesian reptiles on display at the Los Angeles Zoo.

The 55-pound lizard pounced on Bronstein's bare feet, crushing his big toe and severing several tendons with its jaws.

Bronstein was able to pry open the reptile's mouth and escape through a small door in the cage as the zookeeper distracted the dragon.

He was rushed to UCLA Medical Center, where he underwent foot surgery. He was released Wednesday at 1 p.m., said Joe Brown, a spokesman for the Chronicle.

"He's going to spend several days in Los Angeles for follow-up medical care," Brown said. Bronstein should return to work at the Chronicle next week, he said.

The zoo often arranges private, behind-the-scenes tours for donors and celebrities, said Lora LaMarca, a zoo spokeswoman.

In the wake of the attack, the zoo is reconsidering such visits.

LaMarca said the Komodo dragon that attacked Bronstein has been very tame in the past. Before Bronstein stepped into the cage, he took off his white tennis shoes to keep the reptile from mistaking his feet for the white rats the dragon is fed.

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