Man says SeaWorld trained hawk attacked his service dog - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man says SeaWorld trained hawk attacked his service dog

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - What was supposed to be a day of fun at SeaWorld turned into a terrible ordeal after an Oregon couple's service dog was viciously attacked by the theme park's hawk this past February.

Now, months later, the couple faces thousands of dollars in veterinarian bills.

"He’s everything to me. He really is," said Robin Revel.

Robin has been battling cancer. He suffers from a terminal neurological disease called progressive chorea. In February, Robin and his wife Janet visited the park and before they arrived, they called park officials to confirm with them that it was alright to bring their service dog Yogi with them.

"We asked if our service dog was safe there. They said yes, so we proceeded in," said Revel.

However, while on their way to the shark encounter, a SeaWorld owned hawk came out of nowhere and began attacking their dog.

"All of a sudden, that hawk just came down from nowhere and just pounced on Yogi," said Revel.

Both Janet and Robin fought off the hawk. Robin says he suffered a scratch on his leg during the fight.

"It was a terrifying event," said Revel.

The couple says the park apologized, but they did not offer to cover Yogi's veterinarian bills. A week and a half later, the couple says both Yogi and Robin began to suffer from fever-like symptoms. Lesions began appearing on Yogi's body and he was later diagnosed with a fungal disease called valley fever, believed to have been contracted from being scratched by the hawk.

"The hawk is a wild animal. It's owned and operated by SeaWorld. Under the law, it's a strict liability issue," said the couple’s attorney, Daniel Petrov.

The couple filed a lawsuit against the theme park Wednesday.

"We have bad dreams and we cry. He might not survive," said Janet.

CBS News 8 reached out to SeaWorld and a spokesperson said that they do not comment on pending litigation. However, they did issue the following statement: 

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.

The couple's attorney says they haven’t specified an amount they're suing for, but they say it will likely be seven figures. The couple says they just want their veterinarian and medical bills taken care of. The lawsuit was filed by the couple in San Diego Superior Court. Their attorney expects the first court date to be in six months.

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