WFTV.com reports that the number of confirmed E. coli and hemolytic uremic syndrome cases are now at 28, with 45 suspected cases. More lawsuits are being filed against AgVenture, the Plant City-based company that had provided animals to petting zoos at three Central Florida fairs – the Florida State Fair, the Central Florida Fair, and the Florida Strawberry Festival.
The latest lawsuit targets the Central Florida Fairgrounds, saying there are many things the Central Florida Fair could have done to lower the petting zoo risks. The family’s attorney says the fair is just as responsible as Ag-Venture.
“The testing (of the animals) should be done by the petting zoos themselves, AgVenture, and it should be required by fair owners or agricultural fairs before they allow these vendors on their property,” said attorney Jeffrey Miller. At the very least, he says, the Central Florida Fair should have warned of the danger and had better hand washing available.
The lawsuit says the fair and AgVenture should have warned against eating and drinking in the animal area and kept children from carrying in pacifiers or sippy-cups. It also suggests soap and running water as the Centers for Disease Control recommends.
“There were no warning signs they saw that advised them that their children could end up in ICU at the hospital simply by going to a petting zoo,” said Miller.