PETA calls for closure of petting zoo after worker’s hand bitten by alligator


The animal rights organization wants Scales and Tails to send its animals to “reputable and accredited facilities.”

(Theresa Wiseman via FOX13) A screenshot from a video taken on Saturday, August 14, 2021 at the Scales and Tails Children’s Zoo in West Valley City. The alligator bit an employee, who was rescued after a guest jumped into the enclosure to keep the animal on the ground.

Animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has called on West Valley City’s Scales and Tails petting zoo to close after a handler was bitten on the hand by an alligator.

PETA representative Debbie Metzler wrote a letter to Shane Richins, the owner of the petting zoo, urging her to “release the animals from Scales and Tails to reputable and accredited facilities.”

Scales and Tails employee Lindsay Bull was taken to hospital after an 8-foot-long alligator bit her hand during a feed. On Monday, she said a surgeon had performed a procedure which should mean she will not lose function in her hand. Bull said she plans to return to work once she recovers.

Video obtained by FOX 13 shows the alligator, known as the Darthgator, bit Bull’s hand and attempted to roll over, a common predatory move meant to dismember prey. Bull rolled with him in order to keep his hand, before a bystander, later identified as Donnie Wiseman, jumped into the enclosure to keep the animal on the ground.

After the alligator let go of Bull, she helped Wiseman get to safety in front of the children.

PETA spokesperson Brooke Rossi said in a press release that Scales and Tails, which has been operating since 2004, “does not conform to current thinking about wildlife and poses a risk to humans, which shouldn’t touch them at first. place.”

“Encouraging people to pay to see a top predator used as a birthday party prop is a greed disaster,” Metzler said in the statement. “PETA calls on this dangerous business to let these wild animals go to facilities where they could have a good life in suitable habitat and be respected enough to be left in peace. “

Metzler wrote in his letter that alligators are afraid of humans and naturally prefer to flee than to fight. She said the conditions in petting zoos, including being in a cramped pool and being forced into unwanted contact with humans, made the animal aggressive.

“Continuing to exploit them is a recipe for disaster,” Metzler wrote. “Watching depressed and frustrated alligators confined in glass tanks tells us nothing about these remarkable animals. “

The petting zoo purchased Darthgator from a Florida breeder in 2009. He is one of four crocodilians at the zoo, who also owns a caiman, a crocodile, and a smaller alligator named Gatortot.

Scales and Tails did not immediately respond to the Salt Lake Tribune’s request for comment.

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