Thursday December 8th, 2022 5:13AM

Child attacked by lemur at Bogart petting zoo

By Natalie Sadler Anchor/Reporter
A family’s day at Half Moon Petting Zoo in Bogart turned chaotic after a lemur attacked their 17-month-old son.
Ronnie Carroll, his wife and their son visited the petting zoo Saturday. The family saw the lemur enclosure and asked the owner if they could enter. 
“I know it was 100 percent my fault I let people go in,” said petting zoo owner Marek Lipold.
Carroll’s wife entered the enclosure first and was unbothered by the primates. However one quickly jumped on the boy when he and his father stepped inside the pen.
“As soon as you walked in, they just pounced on them and started clawing at his face,” Carroll said. “Luckily enough, I was holding him in my arms, and I was able to tell the guy to open the door up.”
A police report states that the child had a scratch on his eye and a gash on the back of his head. The family took their son to Athens Regional Hospital, but were unable to contact Jackson County Animal Control and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources over the weekend.
“Our biggest concern was just making sure our son was okay,” Carroll said. “And Monday is when we finally started getting some answers. I reached out Sunday night to the sheriff. The sheriff of Jackson County actually wrote back to me on Facebook and was really helpful.”
Carroll was concerned that his son would contract a disease from the animal bites, especially because the lemurs are not vaccinated for rabies or other diseases.
“I spoke to the head animal epidemiologist of Georgia,” Carroll said. “And she told me that the lemurs in the Atlanta Zoo are not vaccinated as well. But she said the reason is because they don't interact with humans.”
The Georgia DNR confirmed that Lipold had a legitimate business license and a permit to hold the wild animals in captivity. He is allowed to display the animals, but it is illegal for the lemurs to interact with humans.
DNR Lieutenant Wayne Hubbard said these rules for exotic animal interactions vary by species. There’s also a difference in how the state handles domestic and exotic animals.
“The petting zoo name is what caused a lot of problems in this case,” Hubbard said. “So some of the domestic animals and things that are there, of course, can be used in a petting zoo situation. But that's not anything that Georgia DNR regulates. That's more the Department of Agriculture and maybe as a county. We regulate non-native exotic animals there, such as the lemur and the camel.”
Lipold will likely be allowed to keep his business, but he will have to go through a process with other state agencies.
“The guy from DNR is to come there every day now for 10 days to see if they [the lemurs] are normal,” Lipold said.
The child is feeling better, but his parents will not forget the attack.
“I'm so thankful that he's so young,” Carroll said. “He doesn't even realize the experience. My wife and I do, and we're definitely gonna be cautious if we take him to a petting zoo. Make sure it is just goats and bunny rabbits and things like that.”
  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Jackson County, animals, Half Moon Petting Zoo, Bogart
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Child attacked by lemur at Bogart petting zoo
A family’s day at Half Moon Petting Zoo in Bogart turned chaotic after a lemur attacked their 17-month-old son.
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