SAN ANTONIO, TX (CBS Houston) – SeaWorld recently launched an investigation after a dolphin bit a 9-year-old girl while she was feeding it, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

SeaWorld said they provide safe interactions between guests and their animals, but that “incidents like these are few and far between,” the park said in a statement.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, asking them to determine whether SeaWorld violated portions of the Animal Welfare Act.

PETA claims that a dolphin “latched” onto the young girl at a part of the park where visitors pay $12 to touch the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.

According to the complaint, the child’s mother could not free her daughter’s hand from the dolphin, and an employee had to eventually shoot the mammal with a water gun.

The complaint cites a provision of the Animal Welfare Act that requires “sufficient distance and/or barriers between the animal and the general viewing public so as to assure the safety of animals and the public.”

SeaWorld assures that the safety of its guests and animals remain their top priority.

“SeaWorld staff was present at Dolphin Cove during the incident, and responded quickly to assist the guest, who received on-site medical evaluation,” the company said in a statement. “After the incident, she and her family stayed in the park and visited other attractions.”

PETA says the park blamed the incident on the girl, “claiming that the child was bitten because she held out her hand in a way that made it look as if she was holding a treat.”

PETA’s complaint goes on to say that the child was not given the proper instruction on how to hold her hand when feeding the animals and that SeaWorld did not offer her first aid to treat the bite.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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