Eight lions escape from circus
Members of the Leipzig police force posing with the dead lions Photo: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Eight lions escape from circus

Published: 20 October 1913

The famous Barnum’s Circus was in Leipzig today. As the performers, animals and equipment were being transported across the city centre, the truck carrying eight lions collided with a tramcar. The animals were able to escape causing panic to spread through the large crowd in the area.

Two of the lions were seen to enter a hotel doorway and climb the staircase. One lion broke the door of a bedroom, but fortunately the resident of the room managed to lock the animal into the bathroom. The other climbed to the top floor of the hotel, where waiters were able to lock it into an attic.

The lions on the street were a danger, and one attacked the horses that had been pulling their truck. The danger from the lions was heightened as the city was shrouded in fog. Once the police were aware of the danger posed by the lions a force of 60 men was dispatched with orders to shoot the animals on sight. It took four hours until all the animals were accounted for, and all of them, excluding the two in the hotel who were recaptured, were killed by police bullets.

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