Man says SeaWorld hawk attacked therapy dog; left him with thous - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Man says SeaWorld hawk attacked therapy dog; left him with thousands in vet bills

SAN DIEGO - A fun day at SeaWorld turned into a nightmare after a man says a surprise attack from the sky led to a frantic fight for survival.

“It really had a hold of him and was dragging him. Total terror. It happened so fast,” said Robin Revel.

It began with total fun.

Revel, who suffers from a progressive neurological disease, was with his wife Janet, two friends and his therapy dog Yogi, a 2-year-old Pomeranian-Poodle mix.

They were visiting SeaWorld in February, when chaos broke out near the Shark Encounter exhibit.       

“Just out of nowhere, I was walking with Yogi right between me and my wife Janet when the hawk just came down and just pounced on him. I saw a blur of movement and screeching,” said Revel.

Yogi suffered puncture wounds in his stomach, legs and tail.

Revel tried to fight him off and says he got scratched in the shin.

Revel says Yogi developed fevers, fatigue and other symptoms. A mass that developed near a puncture wound required surgery. 

Revel says a diagnosis that followed was valley fever, a fungal infection usually contracted by breathing in spores. 

Despite the confirmation, Revel tells us there were no spores in the lungs, which means the case is a medical rarity.

“The veterinarians are saying the talons of the hawk directly introduced Valley Fever directly into the bloodstream,” said Revel, who lives in the Portland area.

Revel's attorney Daniel Petrov just filed a lawsuit against SeaWorld.

He says the Harris’s hawk and a handler nearby were hired by the park to chase away gulls from the shows.

“Even though it's trained, it's uncontrollable, and you never know when they'll attack. That’s what happened here,” said Petrov.

“I know it’s an accident, but it shouldn’t have happened,” said Revel.

After more than $8,000 in vet bills, Yogi is still being treated for valley fever. Revel says he also developed symptoms and is about to undergo a spinal tap to test for the disease.

SeaWorld issued this statement:

  • “We have not seen a lawsuit and don’t comment on pending litigation. Safety is and has always been a top priority for SeaWorld. We strive to ensure our guests have a safe, enjoyable and enriching experience while visiting the park.”

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