Dear Friends of Lolita,
We haven't sent anything for several months because the situation in Miami seems to be slowly winding down to some kind of resolution, possibly very soon. It looks like the Seaquarium is in its death rattle. We told you last fall about the many safety code violations that were exposed by videographer Tim Gorski's (producer of Lolita - Slave to Entertainment) videos and described by Russ Rector of the Dolphin Freedom Foundation and by Safety Inspector Jon Wallace (CSP, MBA) of the University of North Carolina.
Jon did a follow up inspection over this past weekend and found several more violations. Most importantly, Jon found that Lolita's stadium still lacked the two additional public exits required by law. The Dolphin Freedom Foundation will file a complaint with the Governor of Florida asking for a full investigation into the "obvious corruption inside Dade County Building and Zoning and the Fire Marshall's offices."
The bottom line in the news story below is the bottom line. "Lolita's stadium lacks some of the required emergency exits." The safety code requires 4 public exits, but the stadium only has 2. They tried putting "Emergency Exit" signs over two narrow staircases used by employees, but that's not legal, so now they have to cut down admissions to the stadium, cutting revenues accordingly. In addition, the Top Deck dolphin show is closed for renovations, as is the manatee show. The owners now face a massive and extremely expensive rebuild, or will have to shut down entirely.
This just in: Tim Gorski reports this evening that he has "video proof that they have not cut down on admissions to the Lolita stadium as the last paragraph of the article states. 10 minutes of complete congestion going in and out of the stadium and wheelchairs crowded around the ROPED OFF emergency exits."
We'll keep you posted. See www.miamiseaprison.com
for more details.
April 20, 2004
Dolphin advocate rips Seaquarium on hazards
A marine-mammal advocate whose complaints last year prompted Miami-Dade County to cite the Miami Seaquarium with dozens of violations blasted the popular attraction again Monday (emphasis ours).
According to Russ Rector, head of the Dolphin Freedom Foundation, a second review by a private safety consultant showed four new electrical violations as well as failure to adequately provide safety exits at the stadium housing Lolita, the killer whale.
County and Seaquarium officials said the attraction has been working to correct the 137 violations noted by building and fire officials since Rector began his campaign last year to heighten scrutiny of the Miami landmark.
...Andrew Hertz, general manager of the Seaquarium, acknowledged that Lolita's stadium lacks some of the required emergency exits, but has taken steps with the county's blessing -- such as limiting the number of patrons allowed into the shows -- to ensure safety.