A woman that was attacked by an alligator at Scales and Tails Utah was released from the hospital yesterday with a damaged tendon, multiple fractures and a broken wrist and thumb, TMZ reports.
Animal trainer Lindsay Bull was preparing to feed an alligator in front of paid spectators when the animal latched onto her hand and dragged her into its enclosure on August 14. Bystander Donnie Wiseman jumped into the water to help Bull while other bystanders shouted for help from staff.
About two minutes into the attack, the alligator let go of Bull and another bystander dragged her out of the enclosure. Wiseman was able to vacate the alligator enclosure shortly after without injury.
A third bystander administered first aid to Bull until emergency medical technicians arrived. Bull was hospitalized due to her injuries.
Yesterday, Scales and Tails Utah posted a statement from Bull, thanking well-wishers for their concern.
“I got lucky to land in a hospital that employs what has to be the best orthopedic surgeon in Utah,” Bull said in the statement. “He was able to improvise and come up with a solution that should result in full use of my hand.”
Photos and videos posted on social media indicate Bull regularly entered the enclosure with the 10-foot alligator, named “Darth Gator,” and fed the animal with her bare hands.
In comments, Bull said about once per year the facility would take their animals to a pool so employees could swim with them and take photos. Several of the photos were taken at Splash Summit Waterpark, Provo, UT.
“I want to remind everyone that these interactions are closely supervised and that I strongly discourage anyone from swimming with a crocodilian of any size,” Bull said in a comment.
One follower commented on a photo of Bull and the alligator taken a month before the attack and said, “She will end up as lunch one day.”
Bull commented under a photo taken in May.
“Is anyone sick of people saying, ‘Don’t you know this is going to kill you someday?’” she said. “Please. If it wasn’t for this relationship, I’d already be dead.”
Shane Richins, owner of Scales and Tails Utah, told the Associated Press that the facility’s protocol is for staff to have a second handler present when working with alligators. However, Richins said they haven’t been enforcing that policy if the employee isn’t entering the enclosure.
A source that spoke with Roadside Zoo News under the condition of anonymity rejected the notion that the policy wasn’t being enforced.
“No one is supposed to open that enclosure unless there are two qualified handlers,” the source said. “This is not the first time a large gator has bit somebody on the hand while doing a feeding.”
Richins told the Associated Press that “going forward, we will be back to strictly enforcing it with any interactions with the gator for that very reason.”
Bull told the Salt Lake Tribune that she holds no hard feelings against the alligator for attacking her.
“I told my buddies that now Darth and I are literally one because he’s got my blood running through his veins," she said.