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performing animal incident list - 1997 - 2010

March 7, 2009/Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
More than a dozen children were injured at the Indiana State Fair when a circus elephant they were waiting to ride was startled and caused some scaffolding to give way. (TheIndyChannel.com 7/03/09)

November 5, 2008/MEXICO
Three tigers escaped from a circus truck in Mexico in the city of Zitacuaro. The cats were on the loose for less than an hour and broke down a fence before they were recaptured. (Associated Press 11/05/08)

August 7, 2008/USA
A supervisor at a circus training facility in McHenry County suffered scratches and bites to his upper body after being mauled by a tiger. The facility is owned by John Cuneo, Hawthorn Corp. (Chicagotribune.com 8/07/08)

December 28, 2007/AUSTRALIA
A handler was found dead in an elephant enclosure holding Arna, a 50 year old elephant performing in the Stardust Circus. Authorities believe he was crushed by the animal. (Daily Telegraph 12/28/07)

December 19, 2007/Calcutta, INDIA
Bhola, an adult elephant in his mid-30s, performing with the Nataraj Circus pulled down a circus tent and damaged ticket counters. It took several hours for authorities to subdue the elephant. (The Telegraph 12/20/07)

July 12, 2007/Newmarket, Ontario, CANADA
Three elephants escaped from the Garden Bros. Circus and wandered into a nearby residential area before being rounded up and returned to their compound. (CTV.ca 07/12/07)

January 24, 2007/Rostov-On-Don, RUSSIA
A 18-foot python escaped from its cage at a traveling circus and strangled an employee, said police in the southern Russian city of Stavropol. The body of a woman who cares for animals at the small circus was found near the glass enclosure with signs of suffocation and remnants of snake skin on her neck, the regional branch of the Interior Ministry said. (Associated Press 1/07)

December 4, 2006/Madrid, SPAIN
A 31-year-old Polish man was in serious condition after a circus tiger in south-western Spain ripped off his left arm. The man entered a prohibited area and tried to take a picture of the tiger with his mobile phone. However, he got too close to the cages and was attacked.

November 11, 2005/Lisbon, PORTUGAL
A circus tiger tore off a woman's arm when she put her hand into its cage to stroke its fur. The 24 year old Romanian woman was a Circo Atlas employee but was off duty at the time. (News24.com, South Africa 11/05)

January 31, 2005/Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA
An elephant being loaded onto a truck trampled a circus animal trainer to death at Memorial Coliseum, police said. Three handlers were loading the elephant Monday as crews packed up from this weekend's Shrine Circus, Fort Wayne television station WISE reported. Two of the workers left the trailer and one man stayed behind to lock the trailer door. Police believe the elephant crushed the man, who was found later by a Coliseum worker. He died from blunt force trauma to the chest at a hospital a few hours after being found, police said. (Associated Press 01/05)

October 3, 2003/Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
While leash walking a tiger across the stage, Roy Horn of the Siegfried & Roy magic act was mauled and critically injured by a tiger during the show. The tiger bit horn on the right arm, then lunged at him, bit him on the neck, and dragged him across the stage in front of 1,500 audience members. Horn suffered bite wounds and massive blood loss. the tiger had been performing since he was 6 months old. (Zoocheck, 10/03)

July 3, 2003/La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA
A tiger mauled circus trainer Bruno Blaszak in front of 400 people during his show at a festival. The tiger charged at Blaszak, knocked him down and clawed him. His right leg required 30-40 stitches. (PETA 07/03)

April 23, 2003/Colmenar Viejo, SPAIN
A tiger with the Italian-owned International Circus bit off the right arm and caused serious injury to the left arm of a man who approached his cage. (PETA 04/03)

March 2, 2003/Muskegon, Michigan, USA
A performing elephant with the Jordan World Circus at the Shrine Circus escaped from a tent shortly before a performance and was recaptured 15 minutes later in a busy downtown area. (PETA 03/03)

November 2, 2002/GUATEMALA
A circus leopard clawed a two-year old girl to death at a Guatemalan circus after she wandered too close to his cage. (BBC News 11/02)

October 9, 2002/Potsdam, GERMANY
A five year old, female tiger escaped from a traveling circus and was spotted in a city park next to a housing complex. The animal was tranquilized and recaptured. (Agence France Presse English 10/02)

June 17, 2002/Menomonie, Wisconsin, USA
Two Shrine Circus elephants bolted out of a circus tent during a show, scattering crowds. One elephant traveled two miles through town and a child was injured, and the elephants caused some minor damage. (PETA 06/02)

September 18, 2001/AUSTRIA
Fifteen people needed hospital treatment after circus director Roman Zinnecker allegedly used elephants to trample protesters outside his big top. (Ananova 09/01)

August 14, 2001/CHILE
A circus lion bit the arm of a drunken man named Carlos Ferrada who boasted to friends he would talk to the animals. Mr. Ferrara spent two weeks in hospital recovering. (Ananova 08/01)

August 12, 2001/Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Two lions mauled trainer Geoffrey Lennon during a performance of the Lennon Brothers Circus. Lennon received bites and gashes to his chest, back, buttocks and thighs requiring surgery. (AR News 08/01)

February 22, 2001/Moscow, RUSSIA
An elephant crushed its trainer, Alexander Terekhov, to death after a performance at Durov's Little Corner, a small animal theatre in Moscow. Interfax news agency said ambulance workers confirmed the incident. (Reuters 02/01)

December 30, 2000/Frankfurt, GERMANY
A tiger stopped rush-hour traffic on Germany's busiest motorway for more than two hours before he was recaptured. Sahib, a young male weighing more than 150 kilograms, ran away from a nearby circus and caused a 20 kilometer traffic jam as more than 50 police, firemen and animal handlers tried to catch him. (Globe & Mail, 12/00)

December 15, 2000/New Delhi, INDIA
A 20 year old female circus artist was mauled to death by three tigers during a performance in which the tigers were required to jump over her and through a ring. (Reuters, 12/00)

August 7, 2000/Sao Simao, BRAZIL
Six lions escaped from a circus and caused panic in the Brazilian town of Sao Simao and injured a horse before they were shot dead. (Reuters, 08/00)

April 25, 2000/Jomtiem, THAILAND
A male elephant killed a tourist when the elephant charged the crowd during a show. (PA News e-mail, 04/00)

April 10, 2000/Recife, BRAZIL
Five circus lions killed a six-year-old boy after one grabbed him from his father’s hand and dragged him into the cage. Police sprayed the top of the cage with machine-gun fire, killing four lions and injuring two people. A worker with the ‘Vostek Circus’ told reporters that the lions had not been fed for several days. (Toronto Star, 04/00)

April 2000/Bangkok, THAILAND
A 20-year-old British woman was trampled and gored to death by an elephant at a resort show. Her father and sister were also injured when they tried to rescue her. Last month, a puma attacked a woman at the same resort. (Earth Island Institute e-mail, 05/00)

April 2000/Yucca Valley, California, USA
An elephant with the ‘Culpepper and Merriweather Circus’ escaped from its pen and ran amuck through the desert community after stepping on a ticket-taker. After the elephant was recaptured, three circus horses got loose but were quickly returned to their pens. (Earth Island Institute e-mail, 04/00)

March 2000/Bangkok, THAILAND
A woman was attacked by a puma at a seaside resort and sustained an injury to her arm. (Earth Island Institute e-mail, 05/00)

February 2000/Kent, UNITED KINGDOM
A zookeeper was crushed to death by an elephant at the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park near Hythe, Kent. It was understood that the animal fell on top of him. (Weekly Telegraph, 02/00)

August 5, 1999/Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
During the ‘Lights, Camera, Animals’ show at Paramount Canada’s Wonderland, a lion bit two trainers causing minor injuries. The lion was controlled with a fire extinguisher. (Toronto Star, 08/99)

May 26, 1999/ Madrid, SPAIN
An elephant went on a rampage through the streets of Madrid, after she was spooked by the noise of cars and crowds. The elephant broke away from her handler during a promotional photo shoot at the stock exchange. Handlers briefly managed to tie her to a tree, but she got away again. They shot the elephant with a tranquilizer gun in order to get her back to the Madrid Zoo. (ar-news e-mail, 05/99)

May 16, 1999/Timmins, Ontario, CANADA
Between performances of the ‘Leonardo Circus’, an elephant killed an employee. The worker was assisting the trainer, prepping the elephant for a show when the he was kicked in the head and fell backwards. (Timmins Daily Press, 05/1999)

April 29, 1999/Duluth, USA
A ‘Shrine Circus’ employee was seriously injured by an elephant who had removed one of its back legs from a restraint. (ar-news e-mail, 04/00)

February 1999/USA
While performing with the ‘Royal Hanneford Circus’, and elephant charged into the crowd, stomping through several rows of chairs, injuring many people, including several children. (PAWS, 04/1999)

November 21, 1998/Chicago, Illinois, USA
A ‘Ringling Bros. Circus’ animal trainer was seriously wounded by a tiger who had escaped from his cage and inflicted multiple bite wounds. (Chicago Tribune, 11/1998)

November 1998/Gainesville, Florida, USA
A white Bengal tiger lunged at its owner and bit her on the neck, killing her. The tiger had killed a trainer in October. (Pinellas Times, 11/1998)

October 8, 1998/Gainesville, Florida, USA
A white Bengal tiger bit a trainer in the neck and killed him. The trainer was trying to keep the spooked tiger under control when the attack happened. The tiger is part of an act that tours the world, showing exotic cats at circuses and fairs. (Pinellas Times, 11/1998)

August 27, 1998/Syracuse, New York, USA
An elephant, travelling with the Commerford Petting Zoo, rampaged while giving rides at the New York State Fair. The elephant knocked down and stepped on her trainer and injured a child. (Sarasota Herald-Journal, 08/1998)

August 1, 1998/Minot, North Dakota, USA
A five-year-old boy was attacked by a tiger in an exhibit where people can have their pictures taken with the tiger. (Saturday Free Press, 08/1998)

June 18, 1998/West Salem, Wisconsin, USA
During a storm, a horse trampled a ‘Reid Brothers Circus’ worker when the wind collapsed the tent sending people scattering. (ap-news e-mail, 06/1998)

June 1998/Minsk, Belarus
A male elephant attacked a keeper at the Hrodno Zoo. The keeper died from the injuries. (Circuses.com, 09/1998)

February 16, 1998/Mentor, Ohio, USA
An elephant panicked and ran from the high school where the circus was performing. It was caught a quarter mile away outside of a discount store. The day before, a zebra charged at a woman in the stands and butted her in the head. (Circuses.com, 09/1998)

February 11, 1998/Charlotte, USA
A leopard nearly killed its trainer during a circus act in front of 100 people at the ‘Royal Palace Circus’. The leopard bit the trainer on the head and arms. (ar-news e-mail, 02/1998)

January 7, 1998/St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
During a photo shoot, a ’Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ employee was attacked from behind by a tiger. The 4-year-old tiger bit a baseball-sized chunk out of the trainer’s head. The man was kissing another tiger for a promotional photo. After the incident, the victim’s brother shot the tiger 5 times with a shotgun while the tiger was caged. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 01/1998)

November 3, 1997/Bangkok, THAILAND
An elephant injured his trainer and killed eight people. (Circuses.com, 09/1998)

June 28, 1997/Seagoville, Texas, USA
A 65-year-old man who entered a ‘storage yard for circus animals’ was attacked by an elephant and suffered a broken arm and a dislocated shoulder. (Circuses.com, 09/1998)

May 28, 1997/Gainesville, Texas, USA
An elephant trainer was crushed to death by an elephant at the Frank Buck Zoo after entering the animal’s pen to move it to another area. (PAWS, 02/1998)

May 19, 1997/Rio De Janeiro, BRAZIL
A lion cub being used to advertise the Dallas Circus escaped. The cat ran into a local video store where children were playing video games, cornered 4 year old Vincius Silva and killed him with a bite to the head. (AP wire page, 05/19/97)

May 7, 1997/Carrolltown, Pennsylvania, USA
During a Franzen Brothers Circus performance, a tiger killed his trainer by hitting the man in the neck and chest. The tiger pounced on the trainer, who had just turned his back to the tiger, and dragged the man around the ring by his neck in front of 200 children and their families. (North County Times, 05/1997)

April 13, 1997/Calgary, Alberta, CANADA
An elephant giving rides at the ‘Al Azhar Shrine Circus’ bit and knocked down one of its handler. The circus refused to remove the elephant from public performances. (Edmonton Sun, 04/1997)

March 17, 1997/Bangkok, THAILAND
A 'spooked' elephant killed an Australian man at a circus show. (Circuses.com, 09/1998)

March 17, 1997/Grand Rapids, Missouri, USA
A bear at the ‘Shrine Circus’ bit part of a finger off a two-year-old child. The bear was in a cage and was reportedly muzzled. The finger could not be reattached. (ar-news e-mail, 03/1997)

January 1997/Bangkok, THAILAND
An elephant was gunned down after breaking free and rampaging. (Circuses.com, 09/1998)

Please notify Zoocheck Canada if you have information regarding list additions, corrections, etc.

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