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Abilene Zoo emergency procedures mirror Cincinnati response

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ABILENE, Texas - Abilene Zoo officials said they would do exactly what zoo officials did in Cincinnati when a 3-year-old boy fell into a gorilla's enclosure -- the gorilla was killed for the boy's safety.

Betty Rasmussen brought her granddaughter to the zoo Thursday, and safety was always on her mind. She said if she was in the same situation as what happened in late May, she would have wanted the same outcome.

"I think it was a good idea on their part because the little boy was safe, and that's what was important," Rasmussen said.

Bill Gersonde, director for the Abilene Zoo, agrees.

"We would have dispatched the animal, the public has to come first and wild animals are unpredictable," Gersonde said.

Zoo workers train constantly for various scenarios, including guest injuries and animal escapes. They also review each enclosure to make sure there's no way in and no way out, allowing guests a carefree time.

Gersonde said the zoo has never had a situation where a guest or worker was in a dangerous situation with an animal.

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