Wild Animal Park Owner Turns Spitting Video Into Positive Message
All living things deserve respect. That's the message The Animal Wild Park in Chittenango is spreading after a video of a teen spitting on alligators at the park went viral.
"We have been made aware of the individuals involved and we do not want their names posted on social media nor for anyone who knows who they are to attack them in person or on social media," writes park owner Jeff Taylor on Facebook.
The Instagram video, which has been removed, showed a teen spitting on alligators while another filmed. It quickly went viral, sparking outrage. Taylor banned the teens from the park and called for an apology. "One of the young ladies parents contacted me directly. They in no way tried to defend their child and assured us there would be great repercussions."
Taylor hopes the teens learn from their mistake and asks others to stay positive. "Although we are outraged just as many of our supporters are, we shouldn’t use it negatively and attack these teenagers. If anything positive is to come out of this, it's that our alligators are amazing and sometimes people make mistakes and then further the mistakes via social media."
Supporters of the Animal Park applauded Taylor's positive approach to the situation with some suggesting putting the teens to work. "Maybe some volunteer work and educating the individuals on the animals. I know what was done is disgusting but sometimes young people do things without thinking it through until they realize the reality of the situation. Glad the parent did the right thing and reached out," writes Michaela Greene.
The Wild Animal Park began almost a decade ago after Taylor bought his kids goats for their birthday and a camel the year after that. He's been adding animals and educating visitors ever since. "We wanted this to be a teaching moment that all living beings deserve respect," says Taylor.