OMT One Man's Trash...from Norman Leahy

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 :::

Throwing Gas on the Fire

The mother of the child who was bitten by one of Maymont's bears speaks out this morning.

The whole thing, she says, was an accident:

Julia, who agreed to an interview with The Times-Dispatch on the condition that only her first name be used, denied that she helped her son feed the bears when the two visited the park on Feb. 18. They were sharing an apple while walking behind the 2-acre bear habitat about 3 p.m., she said, when she turned her head for a few seconds.

When she turned back around, her son had cleared the habitat's preliminary barrier, a 4-foot wooden slat fence, and was standing outside the 10-foot chain-link fence, she said. One of the bears was sitting just on the other side.

"The bear was sitting there quiet and calm," Julia said. "The bear was not acting aggressive in any way."

Before Julia could reach her child, she said, he had put his right hand through the fence and was bitten.

"He was reaching in to pet the bear," said Julia, who visits Maymont with her son weekly. "I jumped over the fence and grabbed him as he was pulling his hand out. He said, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry.'"

I feel bad for the kid, I feel bad for the mom, too. Accidents do happen with small children -- all the time. However, that does not reduce her responsibility. And so she has hired a lawyer. Smart move, that.

If anything, though, local officials may not have been playing straight with the facts either. Seems as though the Centers for Disease Control said they could either destroy the bears or give the kid rabies shots. That's new. And it explains why city health officials haven't returned reporters' calls. All the more reason for an investigation.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 2/28/2006 0 comments


"You know what the fellow said: In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they also produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love -- they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." -- Orson Welles, The Third Man

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