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Woman attacked by alligator routinely entered enclosure; fed alligator by hand

A Utah woman who was violently attacked by an alligator on August 14 routinely entered the enclosure with the alligator and fed it with her bare hands, according to videos posted on social media.

Lindsay Bull, an animal trainer at Scales and Tails Utah, was attacked while preparing to feed an alligator during a show for visitors, according to video footage obtained by a bystander.

The alligator dragged Bull into its enclosure before performing a death role while clamped onto her arm.

Another bystander jumped into the water and got on top of the alligator to try to get it to release her. Once Bull was freed, she remained by the side of the enclosure instructing the bystander on how to get off of the alligator without being injured.

Bull was taken to the hospital. A statement posted to the Scales and Tails Utah Facebook page indicates Bull is hopeful she will regain the use of her hand.

Social media posts on Instagram and Facebook indicate Bull routinely entered the alligator enclosure and fed the animal with her bare hands.

A video posted in July 2020 shows Bull feeding the alligator a dead lamb. When the alligator grabs onto the lamb, Bull pulls on the carcass causing the alligator to fight harder and begin performing a death roll with the carcass.

“That was cool; that was insane,” Bull said in the video.

In a video posted just two months before the attack, Bull lures the alligator out of the water by dangling a dead rat in front of it. As the alligator gets closer to her, she tells it to stay. She then throws the rat into the alligator’s mouth and says “Good boy; that’s a good baby.”

Scales and Tails Utah is not licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In the U.S., there are no laws governing the care, safe handling and humane treatment of reptiles in commercial establishments or private homes.

Roadside zoos that don't want to obtain a USDA license skirt the law by only exhibiting birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates, since those species are not subject to federal oversight.

Not only does Scales and Tails Utah lack federal oversight, but the facility also apparently fails to enforce safety protocols.

Scales and Tails owner Shane Richins told the Associated Press that the roadside zoo’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.

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.”


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