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Lion takes bite out of crime at a Fresno zoo

Posted: 11:06 AM, Sep 21, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-21 15:06:53Z

FRESNO, Calif.-- Police say they got a call shortly after 11 Wednesday night about a zoo break-in.

A man had climbed onto zoo property and was bitten by a lion on a toe on his left foot.

"They were never in with the lions. The injury occurred through the mesh and we don't know whether they were antagonizing the lion or anything; we don't know what that behavior was," said Fresno Chaffee Zoo Director Scott Barton.

A security guard was able to help the man get to safety and then called the police.

When police arrived, the man received medical attention. He told them he climbed over the fences because he was being chased.

Police say they looked around but did not find a second person. The man was arrested and cited for trespassing and taken to the hospital.

Zookeepers say he wasn't the only one in harm's way.

"It also puts our team at risk because they have to respond to this. It also puts our animals at risk because if there becomes an event where it's a choice between human life and animal life, we have to make the decision to protect human life," Barton said.