Fair and Petting Zoo Safety

A resource for fair and petty zoo legal cases and outbreak prevention, sponsored by Marler Clark

2011 Snohomish County Petting Zoo

At least 6 people who visited the Forest Park Petting Zoo in Everett, Washington, in June 2011 became ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections.  The Snohomish County Health Department investigated the E. coli outbreak and determined that there was a “clear association between disease and being in the open animal interaction area of the forest Park Animal Farm.”  Investigators determined that direct interaction with calves, and indirect exposure to contaminated surfaces were both associated with E. coli infection. 

Recommendations made to the Forest Park Petting Zoo following the E. coli outbreak included:

  1. Remove calves from the open animal interaction area.
  2. Reduce the number of exits from the park.
  3. Have staff at the hand washing stations to educate regarding the importance of hand washing after animal interaction
  4. Provide hand washing educational materials, such as stickers.
  5. Post larger, more visible hand washing signs.
  6. Use stronger disinfecting agents for disinfecting surfaces.
  7. Disinfect areas that were not previously disinfected, such as shelves, ledges and horizontal beams inside public animal enclosure areas.
  8. Remove craft tables from animal interaction area.
  9. Remove animal play/shelter tunnels and use animal stimuli that are less attractive to young children.
  10. Determine if anti-siphon devices are present on all plumbing fixtures and water hoses.