Monday, May 8, 2017

Alabama: Girl, 9, gets too close to kangaroo inside fence at safari park and is grabbed and bitten

ALABAMA -- A mother's phone captured the shocking moment a kangaroo grabbed her nine-year-old daughter by the hair and then bit her on her head and ear.

Jennifer White was recording her family's visit to the Harmony Park Safari in Madison County, Alabama, - one of the family's favorite places - when the animal suddenly reached through its enclosure and attacked her daughter Cheyenne.

The little girl was rushed to the hospital and had to receive 14 stitches in her head.

Speaking about the ordeal her daughter faced, White told WAFF: 'You blame yourself sometimes, like, you know, "why did I take her to the park that day?”, “Why did I take her to see the kangaroo?’”

Cheyenne's initial encounter with the kangaroo was harmless. She was playing with him, mimicking his actions as he did her's. The footage showed that her three-year-old sister had even reached out her hand to the animal.

Suddenly the park animal poked its clawed fingers through the park's fence - which was punctured with large holes - and bit her while she was bent over.

'I thought it was playing,' Cheyenne told WAFF. 'I’m just glad that it got me instead of my baby sister, because it would have hurt her even worse.'

Alabama law states that agri-tourism businesses like this park cannot be held responsible for visitors' injuries.

'You are assuming the risk of participating in this agri-tourism activity,' the law reads.

'An agri-tourism professional is not liable for injury, sickness, or damage to, or the death of, a participant in an agri-tourism activity at this location if the injury, sickness, damage, or death results from the inherent risks of the agri-tourism activity.

'Inherent risks of an agri-tourism activity include...the potential for you to act in a negligent manner that may contribute to your injury.'

The details from this law as well as plaques reading 'I bite' are posted on a sign at the entrance of the park and on the animal's fence, respectively, but White says this is not enough to keep visitors from danger.

She says the park owners can minimize risk by replacing their fences with more protective barriers.

“It’s real thin, it’s right here. You can clearly see it or pet it or it could touch you, which makes you feel more, like, safe,' she told WAFF.

'And I think children not being able to access the animal by reach or the animal to the children would help a whole lot.

'I don’t want it to happen to someone else’s kid, because they may not be as fortunate as my daughter was.'

The park owners have declined to comment about the attack.

I have been to several of these parks and there is always a danger of something happening. I saw a man scratching the neck of a camel once and suddenly the camel swung its neck and that big mouth opened and he tried to bite the man. Another guy was spit in the face by a llama. Sometimes the animals would be too grabby with the food; I can see all sorts of injuries occurring. That's why it says they're not responsible for anything on the tickets. 

I feel sorry for this little girl, but it was an accident.

(Daily Mail - May 8, 2017)