SeaWorld has defended itself after one of its dolphins bit an 8-year-old girl visiting the attraction.
Young Jillian Thomas was left with three puncture wounds on her left hand after a dolphin lunged at her and snapped at a paper plate she was holding. At first, Jillian’s parents seemed to strike a conciliatory note, saying they had no plans to sue SeaWorld and merely requested that the park increase its age limit for dolphin feedings.
The Thomas family have now posted video of the dolphin biting Jillian to YouTube (the clip is embedded below). Father Jamie Thomas explained the decision to upload the footage in a new interview with WSB in which he repeats his appeal for SeaWorld to introduce changes:
“We felt powerless. We thought, look, we’ve got this video, let’s make it public, and let’s try to put some pressure on SeaWorld to make some changes.”
The girl’s mother, Amy Thomas, added that she was upset about the response of SeaWorld employees, stating to WSB:
“They did not tell us to look out for any signs of infection. We had to ask for Band-Aids.”
In a response to the family’s fresh criticism over the November 21 incident, SeaWorld spokeswoman Becca Bides made it clear that SeaWorld was siding firmly with its staffers. Bides described how on-site “educators and animal care staff [were] 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.”
She added that the Thomas family did not contact SeaWorld after leaving the park and hinted that the Thomas family may have ignored instructions from SeaWorld staff:
“Our guests are given clear instructions on how to feed the dolphins in an appropriate and safe way. Unfortunately, there are times when instructions are not followed.”
You can watch the video of SeaWorld’s dolphin biting Jillian Thomas below: