from the Electronic Telegraph, London


Animal Attack


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  Recife, Brazil: 4 / 5 / 2000

FIVE lions ate a six-year-old boy in front of a circus audience after one of the big cats dragged him from his father's hand and into their cage.

The lion struck when the man took his two children to inspect the animal
enclosures during an intermission at the Vostok Circus in Recife, Brazil, on
Sunday night. The lion lurched toward the boy, pulled him through the bars, clamped its jaws on his head and shook him violently as the other lions attacked.

The boy's father told a television reporter: "He grabbed my son with his paws and pulled him into the cage, and when I looked up he was in the lion's mouth. My daughter saw her little brother dragged away."

Police wounded two people as they sprayed the top of the cage with
machine-gun fire to try to scare the lions away from the boy. It took officers more than four hours to recover the child's torn body from the cage. Four of the five lions were shot dead. Inspectors said the circus had breached safety regulations by allowing the public to walk right up to the cages.

A circus employee, who did not want to reveal his identity, told a local
television station that the lions had not been fed since Thursday. 

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