During a seemingly fun and innocent time at SeaWorld's Dolphin Cove in Orlando, FL, the shocked parents of 8-year-old Jillian Thomas witnessed (on video) their daughter get bit during a dolphin feeding - the accidental chomp left young Thomas with three puncture wounds in her little hand. While representatives at the popular live creature theme park insist that they promptly attended to the girl's wounds after the incident occurred on November 21, the Thomases believe that the nationwide oceanarium company actually trivialized their daughter's injury.
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Although the incident occurred over a week ago, the "Orlando Sentinel" reported on Saturday (Dec. 1) that Jamie and Amy Thomas are still flipping out about the dolphin bite incident, especially since they believe the employees at the SeaWorld theme park in Florida simply shrugged off the matter as if it were no big deal.
Jamie Thomas, whose family had been visiting the popular marine mammal park from Alpharetta, GA, said about the unexpected incident, "I thought ... I would have to jump in the water and save my daughter's life. I literally thought she was going to be pulled into the water."
After the dolphin quickly jumped up and snatched onto Jillian's hand mistaking it for food, the young girl was left with three puncture wounds that quickly began to swell.
SeaWorld tells their guests not to remove a paper tray of fish left near the pool's edge where dolphins commonly come up to eat - in the video posted on YouTube, Jillian can be seen lifting up the plat and exclaiming that she is out of fish. That is when the dolphin leaps at her hand and leaves the bite marks... with witnesses watching on in shock, left wondering if the girl would be dragged back into the water with the beautiful mammal.
According to Amy Thomas, "I am such an overprotective parent that if I knew my child might get bitten, I would not have even let my daughter do this. But I felt safe. Everyone just imagines dolphins as smiling, non-biting animals with knobby teeth. You forget these are wild animals." Amy understands that what her daughter did was wrong, but she was simply a young girl caught up in the exciting moment of dolphin feeding."It was strange how [SeaWorld] downplayed the whole thing," Amy explains. "At the time, we thought we were at fault but these are children. We just want other parents to know the dangers."
The Thomases posted the recorded "scary moment at SeaWorld" online to "to share this video so others can make an informed decision about whether or not the risks to yourself or your child are worth the experience."
Apparently the Thomases have no plans to sue Sea World, but they are urging the theme park to increase the age limit for children allowed to feed the animals.
SeaWorld recently released in a public statement, "Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our guests, employees and animals. Educators and animal care staff were at the attraction when this happened and immediately connected with the family."
SeaWorld spokesman Nick Gollattschec also insists that "the video had not been previously shared with us and we have not had a chance to assess it, but certainly take the situation seriously."