Animal News

Dallas World Aquarium is sued – again – over otter attack against child

Dallas World Aquarium is sued again over otter attack against child

Dallas World Aquarium
Have you ever walked by the place? It smells awful. Courtesy

A lawsuit alleges that a giant otter at the Dallas World Aquarium brutally attacked a girl, and left her with permanent scarring.

The lawsuit was filed on February 7 in the 193rd Civil District Court in Dallas County by Carter Law Group on behalf of the girl's mother, who says her then-2-year-old daughter suffered a vicious attack from a giant otter in 2019.

Husband-and-wife Samantha and Harlow Jorgensen took their daughter to the aquarium in September 2019. According to the lawsuit, the facility was full, so Harlow hoisted his daughter up on his shoulders.

While she was on her father's shoulders, a giant otter leaped up and bit her hand, slicing open two of her fingers and ripping off a fingernail.

The otters were added to the exhibit in 2005. The lawsuit says they were housed in a partially enclosed habitat that was not high enough to prevent physical contact with and potential injury to visitors, and that the aquarium did not offer sufficient warning.

"Nothing on the DWA's website, informational pamphlets, or animal information screens advise visitors that the otters can be aggressive, can leap several feet out of the water, can reach over the exhibit and can cause significant infections and injuries," it states.

This is the second such lawsuit filed against the Dallas World Aquarium. A similar lawsuit was filed in October 2021 by another parent, whose 18-month-old son was also the victim of an attack, when a giant otter reached over its enclosure and scratched three deep gashes in the boy's arm. He required more than a dozen stitches and was also treated for a bacterial infection.

Carter Law Group attorney Heather Davis noted that these otters have escaped multiple times and attacked multiple people.

The Dallas World Aquarium was the subject of an investigation questioning the business practices of its founder, a former caterer named Daryl Richardson, as well as a workplace environment that employees called hostile.

The animals are confined to disturbingly small enclosures, and the smell inside is dank and moldy. Even from the street, if you've ever walked by the place, it smells awful, like rotting seafood. No wonder the otters are desperate to get out.