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Man Attacked by Lion, Second in Four Days

October 16, 1987

CRYSTAL BEACH, Texas (AP) _ A 320-pound lion being trained for an exotic animal exhibition bit a man on the chest in the second lion attack in the Houston area in four days, but a judge Thursday ruled out putting the animal to death, at least for now.

Shawn Schilder, 20, of Port Bolivar suffered what were described as minor bite wounds to his chest in the attack Tuesday. He was treated at John Sealy Hospital in Galveston and released.

On Thursday, State District Judge Ed Harris issued a temporary restraining order against the Galveston County Health District, which sought to have the 17-month-old African lion named Shanda destroyed so it could be tested for rabies.

The judge scheduled another hearing on the animal’s fate for next Thursday.

The lion’s owner, Mike Kujawa, had sought the reprieve, saying officials’ efforts to have the lion put to death for tests were ″kind of like a witch hunt. I guess they are associating it with the other lion incident.″

On Saturday, 8-year-old Roxanne Hernandez was mauled by a lion being led through a North Houston flea market on a leash. She remains in the intensive care unit at Hermann Hospital; the lion involved in that attack was killed.

Kujawa said that Schilder, a sometime employee of Kujawa’s Crystal Beach Riding Stable, was bitten when he fell chest-down on the animal’s head, provoking the attack.

But Joe Vickery, Galveston County Health District sanitarian, said Schilder had walked up to the declawed animal to pet it and was then attacked in Kujawa’s front yard. Vickery described the wounds as minor.

Texas health codes prescribe killing wild animals for rabies tests rather than quarantining them for 10 days like domestic animals, Vickery said.

Kujawa told the Houston Chronicle the lion was to be in one of several exotic animal exhibits at his planned Crystal Beach Zoological Gardens. He said he had a permit to display the lion.

But Vickery said Kujawa was in violation of the permit.

Update hourly