Girl describes dolphin bite at SeaWorld Orlando

Father says he had 'instant fear' when animal lunged at daughter

Published On: Dec 03 2012 08:40:31 AM EST   Updated On: Dec 04 2012 07:06:33 AM EST

An 8-year-old Georgia girl says it "really, really hurt" when a dolphin bit her hand while she fed the animal at SeaWorld Orlando.

But Jillian Thomas of Alpharetta says was concerned that the dolphin didn't get sick from eating the paper carton she held.  In an interview on ABC's Good Morning America Monday, Jillian said she prayed for the dolphin after the attack.

Jillian suffered three puncture wounds to her hand. Her father Jamie, who was with her at the theme park when the dolphin lunged from its pool Nov. 21, described his reaction this way: "Instant fear."

During the 11:30 a.m. dolphin feeding on Monday, a SeaWorld employee repeatedly warned guests not to handle the paper fish trays.

"The most important thing I'm going to ask you guys to do for me is to never touch that white paper," the worker told the visitors.  "You don't want to move it, don't pick it up, don't show it to the dolphins."

The SeaWorld employee did not specifically warn visitors they might get hurt, but instead pointed out that the dolphin will bite the tray and steal the remaining fish.

SeaWorld officials said in a statement that the safety of their guests is paramount, and that they are taking the situation seriously.

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