A bear kept in captivity in the Rostov Region in Russia attacked a 5-year-old girl and bit off her hand after the recreation center allegedly neglected to feed it.
Dasha Hopylova was helping her mother, Olga, who works at the recreation center as a cleaner, when the child went up to the caged bear. After taking a picture of her daughter (below), Hopylova suddenly heard her scream.
That's when she saw it.
Hopylova was forced to tear her daughter away from the bear, whose teeth were clenched into Dasha’s hand. When Hopylova turned back, she saw her daughter’s hand in the bear’s front paws, who chewed away at it.
Hopylova then applied a tourniquet and with the help of a center visitor took Dasha to the hospital.
Dasha was taken straight to the intensive care unit where she was operated on. After several days in the unit she is now in stable condition and out of danger.
“When full, an animal would never touch a child,” Hopylova, who blames the center for neglecting to feed the bear, said.
Dasha’s father, Igor Kopylov, blamed the incident on the village authorities in Melihovo for not providing enough kindergarten places for children – had Dasha’s parents been able to afford one of the kindergarten programs, she would have been in school instead of her mother’s dangerous place of work.
However, the recreation center owner blames Hopylova for not keeping an eye on her daughter.
“The bear is a pet; it once lived in my country house. I don’t know how the mother let her child come close to the animal,” the owner said. “I presume, the girl put her hand into the bear’s mouth herself, as she wanted to give it some food.”
The investigative committee has since launched a criminal case into the incident – if found guilty of rendering services that don’t meet safety requirements, the recreation center owner could face up to six years in prison.
The bear has been taken to an animal shelter, along with a lion also held in captivity for the entertainment of the recreation center’s visitors.