PETA Asks for Investigation Into Dolphin Biting Incident

PETA Asks for Investigation Into Dolphin Biting Incident

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SeaWorld has come under fire recently because of a documentary detailing the alleged mistreatment of  killer whales, but this week,  but now  the animal rights group PETA,  is asking for an investigation on behalf of dolphins.

 In a post on their website titled, "Trouble at Sea(World): Problems Mount as Dolphin Bites Girl,"  They use as an example a photo of a dolphin with a girl's hand in its mouth. PETA  alleges that the  dolphin "latched onto the hand and wrist of a 9-year-old girl so tightly that the child's mother was unable to free her and a SeaWorld employee had to intervene." the incident reportedly  took place on February 22 at SeaWorld San Antonio's Dolphin cove, which allows patrons to interact with and  touch the dolphins.

PETA  has since filed a formal complaint with the US Department of Agriculture,  asking the agency to investigate.

The organization states on its website:  "This incident and exhibit clearly endangered both the dolphin and the public," said PETA counsel Brittany Peet in the request, which she described as an "apparent Animal Welfare Act violation." AWA's 9CFR 2.131 (c)(1) requires "sufficient distance and/or barriers between animal and the general viewing public so as to assure the safety of animals and the public."

PETA claims the captive dolphins are so stressed by their environment that they lash out at visitors, citing other children bitten at Sea World parks, most recently and 8 year old girl who sustained puncture wounds while hand-feeding a dolphin at Sea World Orlando.

For its part,  the park says it is investigating. SeaWorld San Antonio spokesman Brian Carter told ABCNews.com that they have not received any word from USDA on the incident. "We [SeaWorld] are fully investigating this incident and we regret the guest experienced this during her visit.  SeaWorld provides thousands of safe interactions between our guests and animals each day, and incidents like this are few and far between."

The child involved in the latest incident was not badly hurt, and stayed at the park to visit other attractions, according to Carter.

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