Prime example of why I hate other parents...
- From: "L." <gentleboa@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: 8 Aug 2006 17:57:00 -0700
Five animals die needlessly because someone can't control their brat.
They should have made the brat's parents pay for the euthanization and
replacement of the animals. This is totally ridiculous. Nine years old
is old enough to know better.
The five meerkats euthanized Thursday at the Minnesota Zoo tested
negative this morning for rabies, two days after one of them bit a
who reached into their exhibit.
One of the animals bit a 9-year-old girl who had reached over a
Plexiglas barrier in an attempt to pet them.
The bite broke the girl's skin but did not result in a major injury,
officials said. As a precaution, however, all five meerkats on display
were destroyed to be tested for rabies.
"It is our policy, always, to err on the side of safety," said Sue
Gergen, communications director for the zoo in Apple Valley.
Gergen said there was no way to determine which meerkat had bitten the
child, so all had to be destroyed and tested.
The child reportedly climbed up on simulated rocks to reach through a
small gap between a wall and the top of a Plexiglas window at the
exhibit, Gergen said. The area was posted with signs that told visitors
to stay off the rocks, she added.
Nonetheless, Gergen said the exhibit will be closed and evaluated for
public safety before it is reopened. The zoo has another troop of
meerkats, including some that were born in its own breeding program.
Gergen said the decision to euthanize the five animals was required
after the girl declined to undergo a six-shot series of injections for
rabies. The child's parents also do not want her treated unless it is
necessary, Gergen said.
The action also was required by Minnesota Department of Health rules,
The girl and her parents were not identified.
Meerkats, which are native to arid regions in Africa, are burrowing
animals related to the mongoose. Energetic and inquisitive, they were
popularized by the hyperactive character Timon in the Disney animated
film "The Lion King." The Minnesota Zoo meerkat exhibit opened in 2001
and has been a visitor favorite since among children.
"This was a very unfortunate thing, very sad," Gergen said. "I can't
remember the last time something like this has happened, and all of us
feel bad about it."
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