A four year old girl was bitten by a captive cougar in Florida. A wild animal business was hired to provide entertainment for a child’s birthday party. The animal handler brought the caged cougar outside of its cage to show the animal to the youngsters when it became startled. The animal then attacked the young girl, biting her face. The animal attack resulted in serious cuts to her eyelid, ear and cheek, requiring doctors to sew part of her ear back on.
The business had received several citations for unsafe practices prior to this incident. One previous citation was related to a leopard’s attack on another young child.
Exotic animals may be entertaining to all, however, adults need to appreciate the risk that no wild animal is completely safe. Children should be kept a safe distance from restrained wild animals. Unrestrained wild animals should only be handled by those experienced with these big animals.