A judge at the Dublin District Court has ordered the Zoological Society of Ireland to make two charitable donations after an animal injured a child at the zoo in Phoenix Park.
On 8th August 2013, a party of adults and children were allowed into the Brazilian tapir enclosure in Phoenix Park Zoo under the supervision of a zoo-keeper. Unfortunately, while the party were inside the enclosure, one of the tapir´s became agitated and attacked a two-year-old toddler and her mother when she tried to defend her daughter.
The young girl was taken to Temple Street children´s hospital, where she was treated for stomach and arm injuries. Her mother also received medical treatment for injuries she sustained while trying to defend the toddler from the animal which injured her child at the zoo.
An investigation into the incident was launched by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) which revealed that the visit to the tapir enclosure should not have been allowed according to a risk assessment conducted in 2006.
The HSA prosecuted the Zoological Society of Ireland with a breach of the 2005 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, to which the Society pleaded guilty when the case came before Judge John O´Nell at the Dublin District Court.
The judge heard a statement read out in court by a representative of the Zoological Society of Ireland, in which the zoo apologised for the injuries sustained by the toddler and her mother, and which informed the judge of health and safety measures that had been implemented to prevent a repeat of when the animal injured the child at the zoo.
Judge O´Neill said that he would put the Zoological Society of Ireland on probation, provided that it made two charitable donations to LauraLynn Children’s Hospital and the Jack and Jill Foundation of €2,500 each. Subject to the payments being made by December 8th, the judge said that no conviction would be recorded against the Zoological Society of Ireland.
It is understood that the parents of girl hurt in the incident do not intend to make a claim for injury compensation against the Zoological Society of Ireland.