Child Injured by Alligator at Amusement Park

In the annals of serious and potentially serious injuries to children this one is as strange as it is frightening. According to the Associated Press, as reprinted in the Chicago Tribune, an 11-year old boy was recently injured at an Indiana amusement park when he “was bitten on the hand by an alligator.”
But wait: it gets stranger. The alligator bit the boy after another guest at the park, using a noose, lifted it out of its pen “and told children they could pet it.” When the animal began biting the man dropped it and ran away, reportedly hopping into a pickup truck along with a woman and four kids, even as he left other children alone with the now-loose animal.

From the standpoint of an Oregon personal injury lawyer with a special interest in injuries to children, where does one begin? Even allowing that the man was breaking the rules by picking up the alligator (not mentioned in the article, but it seems like a fairly safe assumption), what sort of zoo or animal park places potentially dangerous animals – like alligators – in a position where patrons can pick them up in the first place? Granted that someone was able to pick up a gator, one must then ask some tough questions about park security.

The good news, according to the news agency, is that the boy was not seriously injured. This, however, is the sort of situation where even if no lasting physical damage is done serious questions need to be asked and there needs to be real accountability among adults charged with keeping children (and other adults) safe in a public place. Were the proper precautions taken? Have law enforcement officials done enough to try to find the perpetrator, even as park officials work to ensure that something like this never happens again? These are exactly the sort of questions an experienced Portland child injury attorney can help you frame and ask of the appropriate people.

AP via Chicago Tribune: Alligator bites boy at Indiana amusement park