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Lion Bursts Into Mobile Home, Attacks Child

June 3, 1991

ANDERSON, S.C. (AP) _ A 250-pound pet lion burst into a mobile home and mauled a 5-year-old girl and her grandmother before the animal’s owner came and killed it, authorities say.

″You’d expect anything besides a lion coming in your back door,″ the child’s father, Tony Holbrooks, said Sunday.

The girl, Julie Holbrooks, and her grandmother, 50-year-old Shirley Holbrooks, were both treated at Anderson Memorial Hospital late Saturday.

Julie received eight stitches to wounds in her throat and chest and spent Saturday night at the hospital. Her grandmother’s left hand was bandaged where it was punctured by the lion’s teeth.

The lion burst through the open back door at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, swept past Holbrooks and pounced on his daughter, family members said.

″He (the lion) was in the door and on top of her,″ Mrs. Holbrooks said. ″All you could see was (the child’s) two legs sticking out. ... He had his teeth around Julie’s throat. I put my hand over her neck.″

Holbrooks wrestled with the lion and hit it over the head with a mop. That broke the handle of the mop and had little effect on the animal, except to make it angry, he said.

The lion and Holbrooks tumbled out the back door of the trailer, where he picked up a metal bed rail and held the lion at bay until the owner, a neighbor identified as Tony Allen, arrived and shot it.

Capt. Vick Wooten of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office said the animal would be tested for rabies.

Allen said a padlock on the animal’s fence had apparently been pried off, Wooten said.

The Holbrooks suspect the animal may have come into their home after smelling a ham they had cooked earlier in the day.

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