7-Year-Old Girl Attacked By Tiger

Keith Urban and Alicia Keys perform a powerful duet of the Rolling Stones classic "Gimme Shelter" at the Live Earth concert at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on July 7, 2007. Urban said later that it was his manager's idea to perform the song and that its socially-conscious lyrics still resonate today. Getty Images/Mat Szwajkos

A 7-year-old girl was hospitalized with minor injuries after being attacked by a tiger at a private wild animal refuge in this southeastern Minnesota town, authorities said.

The attack happened at B.E.A.R.C.A.T. Hollow, which was closed to the public Sunday because of rain, but park owner Nancy Kraft said the Rochester girl and her mother were allowed inside to take fund-raising pictures.

They were in the big cat barn when the 2-year-old Siberian tiger pushed his way out of a pen and grabbed the girl, Kraft said.

Kraft said she began yelling "No" at the tiger and it dropped the girl. The girl's mother picked her up and drove her to the nearby town of Stewartville, where she was airlifted to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Mower County Chief Deputy Terese Amazi said the girl, whose name was not being released, was not seriously hurt, and the main concern was just preventing infection. "She's expected to do just fine," Amazi said.

The animal refuge is a state-licensed facility and there have been no reports of trouble there before, Amazi said. She said the tiger had been vaccinated for rabies earlier, and she did not expect any action against the animal or park.

Kraft said her tiger probably thought the active girl was a toy.

"She said she didn't feel a thing," Kraft said. "It was just a little nip." She said the girl's injuries, which were to her arm and back, required a couple of stitches, and that she was being held for observation.

"It scared me half to death," said Kraft, who described the tiger as "a very friendly, sweet cat."

Kraft said the public is not allowed in the cat barn. She also said this is the first attack at the park, which has about 160 wild animals, including black and grizzly bears.

B.E.A.R.C.A.T. stands for "beautiful, endangered, and rare, conservation and therapy," according to a sign outside the family park.

Racine, which has about 360 people, is about 90 miles southeast of the Twin Cities.


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