theweek: A Czech man who reportedly kept two illegal lions in his backyard has been found dead inside one of his homemade enclosures.
The badly mauled body of farmer and amateur lion breeder Michal Prasek, 34, was discovered by his father this morning in the wooden pen where he reportedly kept nine-year-old lion Fufi, Czech news website iDNES reports.
Police said that firearms officers had no choice but to shoot Fufi and a three-year-old lioness also living in the yard to ensure safe access to the scene.
Prasek built the wooden pens on land behind his family’s farm in the village of Zdechov, near the Slovakian border, in 2016, says Czech news website Lidovky.
Despite neighbours complaints, authorities had been locked in a “stalemate” with Prasek over the lions for three years, the BBC reports.
Despite issuing fines to Prasek for building the enclosures without planning permission, “a lack of alternative facilities in the Czech Republic, and no evidence of animal cruelty, also prevented authorities from forcibly removing the lions”.
Prasek required surgery in 2012 after being attacked while feeding Fufi, when he was living in Slovakia.
He later said that only the intervention of a lioness prevented Fufi from mauling him to death, Pragye tabloid Blesk reports.
“It was just my fault that the lion attacked me,” he said. “I made a professional mistake. Like every morning I went to feed it, but this time I put on a coat that smelled of dogs.”
Regional police told Agence France-Presse that an inquiry had been opened into the death.