- The Washington Times - Monday, May 30, 2016

The mother of the 4-year-old child who fell into a zoo’s gorilla enclosure struck back at social media critics and animal rights activists who have called her a bad parent.

In a Facebook post, Michelle Gregg thanked many people for their concern for her boy and zoo authorities for shooting the gorilla who was threatening the child, the move that caused much criticism in the past two days.

“God protected my child until the authorities were able to get to him. My son is safe and was able to walk away with a concussion and a few scrapes … no broken bones or internal injuries,” she wrote, before taking aim at the firestorm of attackers.

Animal lovers had accused Ms. Gregg of not keeping watch over the boy, whose name hasn’t been released, and prevented him from climbing into the enclosure. Some suggested the family, and/or the zoo, be held responsible for the death of Harambe.

Kate Villanueva started the “Justice for Harambe” Facebook page and attended a vigil for the gorilla Monday. “There’s a degree of responsibility they have to be held to. … You have to be watching your children at all times,” she told reporters.

A Change.org petition calling for Ms. Gregg and Deonne Dickerson, the boy’s father, to be “held accountable for their actions of not supervising their child” had garnered more than 100,000 signatures Monday evening.

VOTE NOW: Should the parents bear any blame in Cincinnati Zoo incident?

In her Facebook post, Ms. Gregg accused people of leaping to judgment.

“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. Accidents happen but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place today,” she wrote.

The criticism of Ms. Gregg and the outpourings over the gorilla prompted a much tarter response from Matt Walsh, a blogger at The Blaze, noting that “any parent knows that kids can create enormous, life-endangering trouble for themselves in the blink of an eye.”

“We are living in the days of neo-paganism, where legions of depraved souls seem only capable of mustering compassion for wild beasts. As for human beings, they feel only contempt and indifference,” he wrote.

The zoo’s director also backed Ms. Gregg.

“Do you know any 4-year-olds? They can climb over anything,” director Thane Maynard said at a Monday afternoon press conference when his zoo’s security measures were questioned.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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