We have yet another tough case of how to handle a parent who seems devoid of basic sense, let alone basic instincts. The mother reportedly dangled her two-yera-old boy over a railing at a cheetah pit and then accidentally dropped him. Fortunately, the cheetahs did not attack but the boy’s leg was hurt.
An adult reportedly jumped into the pit and retrieved the toddler as people screamed. The Cleveland Fire Department said that the mother was holding another child when the boy fell.
The zoo closed the cheetah exhibit for the remainder of the day and said it would press charges against the boy’s mother for endangering his welfare.
Unfortunately, it is actions like this mother’s action that has prompted zoos to put additional barriers between observers and animals. The lowest common demoninator tends to drive safety measures, which can increase the distance or barriers for people to see these animals.
The question now becomes whether this should be charged as criminal endangerment and what should happen in terms of custody. As frustrating as it is to see such moronic conduct (and I have personally seen the same behavior at zoos), this can be a brief moment of stupidity as a mother is managing two struggling kids. It is not like the idiots who taunted a tiger in San Francisco until the tiger attacked. A criminal charge could result in limitations or even denial of custody for her children. I, like many, feel anger at reading about such senseless conduct involving children, but I would like to know more about how clear it was that the mother was dangling the child over the railing. It is a question of stupidity versus criminality.
What do you think?