American Tourists View Shocking Lion Attack at Circus

Posted Oct 5th 2010 11:27 AMUpdated Oct 5th 2010 01:22 PM

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An American family traveling in the Ukraine went to the circus and ended up watching in horror as lions attacked their trainer in front of a crowd.

The family's video of the attack, which occurred in the city of Lviv, was broadcast on "The Early Show" on CBS.

Circus lion tamer Oleksie Pinko is shown on the video trying to keep a lion a safe distance with a rod. But the animal roars, and lunges and strikes. And another lion joins in.

Doug Shepherd, who had brought his two kids to the circus, tells CBS News, "Kids are screaming, and kids are only 10 feet away and (my family was) probably 35 feet away."

His wife, Masha Shepherd, says she grabbed her daughter and started to run, because she thought the lions would leave the ring. In the video only a mesh net appears to protect the circus audience from the animals.



The trainer was bit on his arm and knocked to the ground. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for emergency surgery, and was in stable condition, CBS reports.

This attack follows another recent incident where a lion went after its trainer at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, an incident also caught on video.

Doug Shepherd says he has seen "great performances" at the traditional circus on past visits, but that he may have a hard time convincing his family to go again.

Interestingly, the city of Lviv happens to be nicknamed "City of Lions" – named for a "Leo" and with the city symbol a lion.

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