'Well, officer, there was this tiger...'

Dec. 5, 2004 at 1:37 PM
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NEW YORK, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Two $30 million lawsuits have been filed against the owner of a tiger that escaped from a traveling circus in New York last summer.

"Apollo," a white Bengal tiger, distracted motorists as it roamed a busy highway in Queens July 31, causing a police detective and a second woman to crash their cars.

The lawsuits blame the alleged negligence of the tiger's owner, Josip Marcan of Adriatic Animal Attraction, and Cole Bros. Circus, the New York Post reported Sunday.

"We are simply going after the tiger, as the tiger caused both accidents," Ralph Drabkin, a lawyer for both women, said at the initial conference in Brooklyn federal court.

Detective Maureen O'Malley, who was driving to work when she crashed into a highway divider while trying to avoid striking the tiger. Since then has been unable to work and is collecting disability pay.

The tiger escaped as his handler transferred the animal from his main holding cage to a transport cage prior to a performance, the lawsuit said.

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