The mother of a three-year-old boy who fell into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo on Saturday, causing zoo officials to shoot the animal, has responded to critics who said she should have watched her son more closely.
“As a society we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes off of their child and if anyone knows me I keep a tight watch on my kids,” a woman named Michelle Gregg wrote in a Facebook post reported by People. In the post, which the magazine said has since been deleted, Gregg identified herself as the mother of the toddler.
“Accidents happen but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place today. Thank you to everyone that helped me and my son today and most importantly God for being the awsome (sic) God that He is,” Gregg wrote.
Many animal rights activists on social media have criticized Gregg in the wake of the gorilla’s death, arguing that the she should have prevented her son from falling into the enclosure.
In a statement released through a public relations firm, the toddler’s family said he is now “doing just fine” after being released from the hospital on Saturday, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
“We extend our heartfelt thanks for the quick action by the Cincinnati Zoo staff,” the statement said. “We know that this was a very difficult decision for them, and that they are grieving the loss of their gorilla.”
The statement did not officially identify the name of the boy or his parents.