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Special Report from Top Secret Animal Attack Filles Correspondent: Y.A.


Tiger attacks kindergartner at Scotts Valley school

Fri, Sept. 20, 2002

Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A tiger attacked a kindergartner at a school assembly Friday, sending the 6-year-old boy to a hospital.

The tiger was being led out of an auditorium at Baymonte Christian School by its trainer when it suddenly lurched over a row of seats and grabbed the boy by the head in its jaws, Scotts Valley Police Capt. Harry Bidleman said. The tiger was on a leash, he said, and children had been kept clear of the animal during the assembly.

Principal Steve Patterson was sitting one row behind the boy and wrestled him away from the declawed animal, said school spokesman Jenny Paul.

The boy was airlifted to Stanford Medical Center, where he was in guarded condition. He was admitted for observation, would undergo a CT scan Friday to find any head injuries not immediately apparent. He would then get stitches to a laceration on his head, spokesman Robert Dicks said. Scotts Valley is about 60 miles south of San Francisco and about 30 miles south of Stanford.

The tiger was in the custody of Zoo to You Wildlife Education Inc., the company that brought it to the school, Bidleman said. Police planned to coordinate any possible investigation with Santa Cruz County Animal Services and the state Department of Fish and Game.

``It sounds more accidental than criminal, but there could be some overseeing bodies that would want this completely investigated,'' he said.

Paul said the 1-year-old tiger was brought to the school as a reward for children who had sold 10 or more magazine subscriptions. About 150 students, from kindergarten through eighth grade, attended the assembly, Paul said.

Zoo to You did not immediately return a message asking for comment.

``He was here last year when he was a little cub. It was his second visit here,'' Paul said.

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