Local girl bitten by dolphin at SeaWorld Orlando



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An Alpharetta girl was bitten by a dolphin at SeaWorld Orlando, and her family captured the incident on video.

In a YouTube post, father Jamie Thomas explains that his daughter was bitten by the dolphin while they were visiting SeaWorld on Nov. 21. His 8-year-old daughter, Jillian Thomas, was feeding the dolphin when the incident occurred.

“I was thinking it was going to haul me into the water, and this is a little crazy, but I thought it was kind of going to eat my hand off,” Jillian told Channel 2’s Sophia Choi.

The dolphin bit after Jillian moved a paper plate that held the fish she was feeding them above the concrete wall.

“When I was done, I accidentally held it up, the dolphin jumped and ate the carton and bit my hand,” Jillian said.

Jillian suffered three small puncture wounds from the incident.

“They told us to make sure the paper plate stays on the wall, but we really didn’t know why and there was no disclaimer. There were no signs on the wall that said the dolphin could bite your hand or that there is a level of risk in this attraction,” Thomas said.

Thomas said SeaWorld did not send over a manager to address the incident.

“They did not tell us to look for any signs of infection. They rinsed it out with Bactine. We had to ask for Band-Aids,” mother Amy Thomas said.

Thomas wrote that he posted the video so other parents "can make an informed decision about whether or not the risks to yourself or your child are worth the experience."

SeaWorld issued a statement regarding the incident.

"Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our guests, employees and animals. Educators and animal care staff are always on-site at this area, monitoring all interactions and are committed to guest safety. Educators and animal care staff were at the attraction when this happened and immediately connected with the family. In addition, a member of our health services team was in the area at Dolphin Cove and quickly responded and treated the young girl. The video had not been previously shared with us and we have not a chance to assess it but certainly take the situation seriously."

The family said it does not plan to take any legal action, but they want SeaWorld to raise the age limit or warn parents that dolphins can and do bite.

Jillian said she still loves dolphins and wants to be a dolphin trainer when she grows up.

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