Siegfried & Roy handler alleges cover-up in 2003 mauling incident




· Animal trainer Chris Lawrence granted an interview to The Hollywood Reporter about his time with Siegfried & Roy, including the night Roy Horn was almost fatally attacked by one of his tigers, Mantacore
· While the official story from Siegfried & Roy is that Mantacore was trying to help Roy after he suffered an onstage stroke, Lawrence - who was waiting in the wings during the attack, and actually wrestled the animal onstage and backstage while he dragged Roy - blames human error. Lawrence says Roy decreased bonding time spent with the animals, and immediately before the attack, made a mistake in correcting Mantacore's position onstage (reaching over him and pulling him close, instead of leading the cat in a circle; reaching over put Roy's torso directly in front of Mantacore's face which, per Lawrence, caused confusion)
· The attack caused Roy to have a stroke which has permanently disabled him and put an end to Siegfried & Roy's show career. Lawrence was forced to abandon his career with animals after he developed PTSD and says he struggles with guilt because he was the one who suggested Roy use Mantacore on that night to celebrate Roy's 59th birthday; Roy had wanted to use a new cub but Lawrence talked him into using Mantacore because the cat was so beautiful & would impress Roy's friends in the audience
· Lawrence says his testimony was not included in the USDA report of the incident, and he believes he was deliberately kept away from USDA officials by show officials. He also says he was worried he'd be scapegoated after a show official called him to ask if he'd been drinking during the show. He says he doubts Roy has seen video of the attack and that the official story is maintained, in part, to protect Roy from confronting the truth
· Mantacore died at age 17 in 2014

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