Dolphin Bites 8-Year-Old Girl At Florida Seaworld: Who's At Fault? [VIDEO]

By Staff Reporter on December 3, 2012 9:14 AM EST

Dolphin Bite
Jillian Thomas gets bitten by a dolphin at SeaWorld while feeding the mammal (Photo: YouTube)

On November 21, Jamie Thomas brought his family to SeaWorld Orlando to share some memory-making quality time - Jamie got a little more than he bargained for.

Eight-year-old daughter Jillian Thomas was especially excited to see dolphins, her favorite animals, at SeaWorld for the very first time but things went seriously awry when Jillian held up her tray after she ran out of fish to feed the animal.

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Parents Jamie and Amy Thomas were behind the camera filming Jillian feeding the dolphin when the animal got excited to see girl raise the tray that held the fishes into the air. The dolphin pounced from the water to take the tray but bit into Jillian's arm instead. What's more, Jillian was nearly pulled into the pool as the dolphin started to sink. Thankfully, the dolphin let go before Jillian could fall in.

Prior to feeding the dolphins, visitors were reminded not to wear loose jewelry, touch the dolphin's head, or pick up the trays from the edge of the pool.

Amy Thomas said, "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.

Following the ordeal, Jamie continued to film his daughter and indicated the three puncture marks on Jillian's arm that was done by the dolphin.

"The second it happened, one of the employees came over to Jillian to ask her if she had a positive experience and realized she was bleeding. [Jillian] made a mistake but you can't hold a minor responsible for that."

According to a statement from SeaWorld, the park's health-services team rushed to Jillians aid. The statement from the park assured, "Educators and animal care staff were at the attraction when this happened and immediately connected with the family."

Park officials gave ice and a bandages to tend Jillians wounds but assured the parents that the wounds were minor.

Upon returning home, Amy Thomas researched dolphin bites and grew concerned about the harmful bacteria in the mouths of marine mammals.

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

Thankfully, little Jillian did not get an infection. Amy Thomas said, "I'm just thankful it wasn't worse."

The Thomas family said that they do not plan to take legal action against SeaWorld for the incident but do not intend to return to the park either. "We think of that attraction at SeaWorld as dangerous and it was traumatic for us to go through that event.”

Although the family admitted to a failure of heeding the park warnings, they also criticized the park for not enforcing more measures to prevent Jillian from being bitten. In the end, which party should be held more accountable? Let us know in the comment section below!

Take a look at the raw footage of Jillian Thomas' dolphin bite below:

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