MANCHESTER, N.H., March 17 -- A judge Friday reviewed a civil suit in which a model claims she was attacked by a lion when her ponytail brushed his face during a photo shoot in 1991 in New Hampshire. Shannon Audley, 27, of Bedford claimed photographer William Melton was to blame when Arthur, an adult male African lion who is the roaring star in MGM movie logos, slammed her with a paw and bit her head.
Arthur is also featured nationally in advertisements for Konica Copiers and Dreyfuss Government Funds. Audley testified that Melton knew that posing with a lion was inherently dangerous and did not take adequate precautions to protect her during the Oct. 9, 1991, photo session. She said the lion became upset and attacked when her ponytail brushed his face. Audley said she received a massive head wound that required 50 stitches to close and also had to undergo rabies vaccinations, which caused painful side effects. She testified her wounds required a five- day hospital stay. Melton said during the trial that the lion's trainer, Mahamavavi Bhagavan 'Doc' Antle of Kodak, Tenn., was responsible for restraining the animal. Antle testified that Arthur is an 'exceptional animal' and tolerates people well. He denied allegations the lion had the model's head in his mouth and bit her. He said Arthur was just playing with her when she was injured. Superior Court Judge James J. Barry Jr. has taken the case under advisement and a decision is expected later this month.