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Video of dolphin biting girl? SeaWorld bites back

NEED TO KNOW
  • SeaWorld: Video posted to Youtube before we even knew about it
  • Dolphin jumped and bit her hand when girl lifted food tray
  • Sea World employees warned guests not to lift the trays

SeaWorld, in a statement released Monday, says the family of a little girl that was bit by a dolphin at the park did not tell staff members that they had recorded the incident. The video went viral on the Internet and subjected the waterpark to a torrent of criticism.

A Georgia family was feeding the dolphins at SeaWorld's Dolphin Cove area in Orlando, Florida, when little  Jillian Thomas made a mistake -- one that her parents say has traumatized their family.

Thomas and the other visitors were warned not to lift the trays filled with small fish for the dolphins. But when her supply ran out, she forgot the warning and picked up her tray. That's when one of the dolphins leapt forward (presumably to snatch the tray) and took her hand and arm in its mouth, pulling her toward the water. She ended up with three puncture wounds on her hand, but was otherwise unharmed. She's recovering at home in Alpharetta, Georgia.

On Monday afternoon, SeaWorld said, "A member of our health services team was in the area at Dolphin Cove and quickly responded and treated the young girl. The family had not shared the video prior to placing it on YouTube and we have no record of them contacting us after they left the park."

Now, her parents are saying they want to warn other families about Discovery Cove at SeaWorld.

"The instructions about how to feed the dolphins in a safe way are very clear," SeaWorld said.

Evan Lambert from HLN affiliate WKMG reports.

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