Dolphin bites 8-year-old girl at SeaWorld

Dec. 2, 2012 at 11:39 AM
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ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 2 (UPI) -- The family of a Georgia girl says dolphins are still her favorite animal but she won't be getting close to them for now, after one bit her at SeaWorld Orlando.

Jillian Thomas, 8, and her family visited SeaWorld Nov. 21, where she opted to feed dolphins for an extra $7 charge, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported.

As Jillian was feeding one of the dolphins, it jumped out of the water and bit her hand.

"The first thing I thought was I would have to jump in the water and save my daughter's life," said Jillian's father, Jamie Thomas, who caught the incident on video. "I literally thought she was going to be pulled into the water."

The animal soon released the girl, but left four dime-sized puncture wounds on her hand.

The family said Jillian's injuries are healing, but they are unhappy with how park officials seemed to trivialize the incident.

"It was strange how they downplayed the whole thing," said Amy Thomas, Jillian's mother. "At the time, we thought we were at fault but these are children. We just want other parents to know the dangers."

"Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our guests, employees and animals," SeaWorld officials said in a statement. "Educators and animal care staff were at the attraction when this happened and immediately connected with the family."

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