SAN ANTONIO -

A 9-year-old girl was bitten by a dolphin at SeaWorld San Antonio, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said in a news release Wednesday.

PETA claims the girl was petting a dolphin at the park's Dolphin Cove on Saturday, when the mammal latched onto the hand and wrist of the girl so tightly that the child's mother was unable to free her and a SeaWorld employee had to intervene.

The girl sustained bite marks and swelling to her hand and wrist, PETA said.

PETA is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate the incident.

"It's stressful enough for far-ranging dolphins to be locked up in SeaWorld's tiny tanks, but forcing them to interact with visitors is downright dangerous," says general counsel to PETA Jeff Kerr. "SeaWorld's 'Dolphin Cove' is another example of how the park's main priority is profit, not the welfare of the animals or the safety of its guests."

On Wednesday afternoon, SeaWorld San Antonio spokesman Brian Carter issued this statement:

"At SeaWorld, the safety of our guests and animals is a top priority. We are fully investigating this incident and we regret the guest experienced this during her visit. SeaWorld provides thousands of safe interactions between our guests and animals each day, and incidents like this are few and far between.  SeaWorld staff was present at Dolphin Cove during the incident, and responded quickly to assist the guest, who received on-site medical evaluation.  After the incident she and her family stayed in the park and visited other attractions."