A lawsuit filed Monday in a Dallas County district court claims an 18-month-old boy was severely injured when he and his family visited Dallas World Aquarium earlier this year. Unusually, the lawsuit claims the child was attacked by a giant otter, which is sometimes referred to as a river otter.
According to the lawsuit, plaintiff Stacy Williams was visiting the aquarium with her husband and two young boys on May 2 when her son, Nathan, was attacked by the animal in the attraction’s giant otter exhibit.
The petition states that Nathan suffered deep gouges to his arm. Photos detailing those injuries were included.
The child, the lawsuit states, began bleeding profusely and was rushed to an emergency room where doctors needed more than a dozen stitches to close his arm.
The lawsuit further claims that the child later developed a fever and was diagnosed with a bacterial infection. He was kept in a hospital for four days, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit states that the animal was behind plexiglass but that when they viewed it, Nathan was being held by his father, who is 6-foot-3 tall and stands well above the plexiglass wall, allowing the giant otter to get at the child.
It’s further stated that the exhibit was not outfitted with a caution line or any other safety measures or signage warning visitors not to get too close to the plexiglass.
"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," the lawsuit reads.
The plaintiff is seeking $1 million. As of Thursday morning, Dallas World Aquarium has not spoken publicly about the lawsuit.