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Tiger Kills Teen Posing For Senior Pictures

School Picture Goes Wrong

MOUND VALLEY, Kan. -- A Bengal tiger attacked and killed a teenage girl Thursday at a southeast Kansas animal sanctuary.

Tiger Attacks, Kills Teen

Haley Hilderbrand, 17, of Altamont, Kan., was posing with the tiger for her senior high school pictures at the Lost Creek Animal Sanctuary.

A news release from the Labette County Sheriff's Office said the big cat was being restrained by its handler, but it attacked the teenager anyway.

The 7-year-old tiger was killed.

According to its Web site, the Lost Creek Animal Sanctuary has been open since 1994. It is an 80-acre home to almost two-dozen rescued wild animals.

In a statement, Lost Creek owners offered condolences and called Hildebrand a friend. "At no time in the facility's 10-year history has there been any incident of injury," the statement said. "Every precaution was taken to ensure the safety of Haley."

An estimated 10,000 tigers in the U.S. are cared for by private owners.

Carol Asvestas, executive director of the Wild Animal Orphanage, in San Antonio, Texas, said there is always a risk.

"These are wild animals," she said. "They have wild instincts, and they are predators, and they are dangerous."

The incident remains under investigation, NBC News reported.

Distributed by Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

Tiger Kills Kansas Teen Posing for Photo

MOUND VALLEY, Kan. (AP) - A Siberian tiger attacked and killed a teenage girl who was posing for photos at a family-run animal sanctuary Thursday in southeast Kansas, authorities said.

The Labette County Sheriff's office identified the victim as Haley R. Hilderbrand, 17, of Altamont. A statement from the office said Hilderbrand was at the Lost Creek Animal Sanctuary posing for photos with the 7-year-old tiger, which was being restrained by its handler, when the animal turned and attacked her.

Officers and handlers killed the animal. Emergency personnel were not able to revive Hilderbrand.

Doug Billingsly and his family opened the 80-acre sanctuary in 1994. According to the sanctuary's Web site, its animals include lions, leopards, tigers and bears. The site says the sanctuary has an affiliated Animal Entertainment Productions, which trains animals for stage performances, movies, television shows and magic shows.

Billingsly didn't immediately return a phone call for comment.

On the Net:

Lost Creek Animal Sanctuary: 

08/18/05 18:37

Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained In this news report may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. 

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