Parents Whose 2-Year-Old Fell Into a Cheetah Pit at Zoo Could Face Charges

How many more zoo incidents will it take until we question the logic and safety of keeping animals imprisoned in an enclosed space and then expecting them to be cool when we dangle children a few feet away from them? A 2-year-old boy in Cleveland is lucky to be alive today after he fell into a cheetah pit at the Cleveland Zoo while his parents were reportedly holding him over the pit to see the animals.


The zoo is not sitting quietly and letting this incident pass—they are reportedly planning on filing a lawsuit against the parents.

The incident took place on Saturday after the unidentified toddler dropped 10 to 12 feet into the cheetah pit after witnesses say they noticed his parents dangling him over the exhibit. His mother had reportedly also been holding another child when the 2-year-old slipped from her grip.

Thank god, the cheetahs did not rush over to the child or harm him in any way. His parents immediately jumped in after him and he was transported to a local hospital, where he is in stable condition and recovering from a leg injury.

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Obviously this could have been so much worse, but perhaps because it wasn't, the zoo is not taking these parents' actions lightly. They are reportedly planning to sue the family for child endangerment.

I hate to say this, because I'm sure these poor parents are absolutely freaking out and having the worst week of their lives, but I understand why the zoo is taking legal action. If the eyewitness accounts are accurate, this mom was dangling her child over a pit filled with insanely deadly, dangerous animals.

I've seen parents let their kids run wild around zoos in ways they probably wouldn't do at a city park, and I always find it disturbing. If we insist on taking children to see animals spend their days living in the most artificial of environments, so be it. But at least understand that zoos house wild predators and that it isn't the responsibility of zoo officials and workers to protect our children.

Do you think this zoo should file a lawsuit against these parents?


Image via adam w/Flickr

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