Another Child Faces Danger at Florida Zoo
On January 1, a two-year-old girl fell into a dangerous zoo exhibit here in Florida and had to be rushed to the hospital after coming into contact with one of the exhibit’s rhinos. Her mother was also taken to the hospital after suffering injuries to her arm.
According to reports, the incident occurred as the result of the public being invited to interact with the exhibit in an activity known as “Rhino Encounter”; an activity that is typically open to anyone age three or older. During the activity, the rhinos and the public are only separated by steel poles, and the child stumbled and fell between the poles. As a result of the incident, the zoo has decided to suspend the activity in an effort to ensure that this does not happen again.
Incidents at Zoos Are Not Uncommon
Unfortunately, incidents like these aren’t that infrequent at zoos. In late December, one person was killed by a lion in a North Carolina zoo exhibit after the lion escaped from the exhibit. In 2007, a tiger escaped its pen at the San Francisco zoo and killed and injured visitors, and most-everyone remembers the incident involving the child who ended up in the gorilla exhibit in 2016.
What the Law Does & Does Not Provide For
Premises liability does not just involve someone slipping and falling at a shopping center or hotel. All facilities that invite visitors onto the premises should be kept reasonably safe for those visitors. Zoos have a responsibility to keep visitors safe from dangerous animals, and that includes creating a reasonably safe environment in accordance with building requirements that will protect people from animal attacks. When patrons are injured on the premises, they have the right to bring a claim for negligence, arguing that the zoo failed to provide a safe environment for them while they were there, legally, as a visitor.
Still, unfortunately, many of these zoos do not have a safety protocol in place to make sure visitors are safely evacuated when an animal escapes. Why, for example, was a two-year-old allowed into an exhibit that was only for ages three and up? Tragedies like these also arguably highlight the need for laws regarding which animals are appropriate to house in facilities like these. Most states–including Florida–do not take basic steps to safeguard human lives by making it illegal for non-accredited facilities to possess dangerous exotic animals. As long as certain unequipped facilities continue to keep dangerous animals on the premises, people will likely continue to lose their lives as a result.
Contact Our Florida Personal Injury Attorneys to Find Out More
If you or a loved one has been injured at a facility in Florida, contact our personal injury attorneys at Lavalle, Brown & Ronan today to find out more about your options.