A family trip to SeaWorld Orlando to interact with her favorite animal ended in trauma for 8-year-old Jillian Thomas of Alpharetta, Georgia, after she was bitten by a hungry dolphin.
Jillian had just finished feeding the dolphin fish when she raised the paper plate to signal to her mother that she had run out of food. Park staffers warn guests against doing exactly that out of concern for their safety.
"I was thinking it was going to haul me into the water, and this is a little crazy, but I thought it was kind of going to eat my hand off," said Jillian who suffered minor injuries.
The entire ordeal was caught on camera by her father, Jamie Thomas, who says in the description that he "wanted to share this video so others can make an informed decision about whether or not the risks to yourself or your child are worth the experience."
Thomas claims SeaWorld was not clear enough about the need to avoid lifting the paper plate, and once the incident occurred, did not show sufficient concern.
"They did not tell us to look for any signs of infection," Jillian's mother Amy told WSB-TV. "They rinsed it out with Bactine. We had to ask for Band-Aids."
For its part, SeaWorld released a statement saying "educators and animal care staff" quickly "connected with the family" as soon as the bite happened, and Jillian was also treated by "a member of our health services team."
The family does not intend to pursue legal action.
[video via YouTube]