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Actress who let Lion live in her home, now regrets it (photos)

Found this story on Dailymail and just had to share!

‘We were stupid beyond
belief to have that lion in our house’: Tippi Hedren reveals her regrets at
letting beast share family home – and even letting it sleep in daughter Melanie
Griffith’s bed! 

  • Picture set from 1971 shows
    Griffith relaxing outside with her pet – called Neil – at her home in Los
    Angeles
  • The intimate set even show
    her sharing a bed with Neil, and seeming carefree even as he grabs at her
    legs
  • Griffith’s mother – starlet
    Tippi Hedren – and her then-husband Noel Marshall, a Hollywood Agent, are
    also shown
  • Hedren says she is now
    embarrassed and regrets letting a fully grown lion live with her family in
    the 1970s

Hollywood actress Tippi Hedren has revealed her embarrassment and regret
that she let a fully grown lion live with her family in the 1970s,
saying they were ‘stupid beyond belief’ to let the beast play with her daughter Melanie Griffth, then aged just 13.
In pictures taken for LIFE magazine, the Lion – named Neil – can be seen relaxing by the family’s pool, lounging in Melanie’s bed and becoming a distraction in the office.

But Hedren has revealed that looking
back she finds the pictures humiliating and admits she ‘should never have taken
those risks’.
‘I cringe when I see those pictures
now,’ she told me this week. ‘I have to tell you we were stupid beyond belief.
We should never have taken those risks. These animals are so fast, and if they
decide to go after you, nothing but a bullet to the brain will stop
them.’ 
We’re dealing with animals who are psychopaths,’
‘They have no conscience or remorse genes, and they will kill you for their
dinner.’
 While
her family were never harmed by Neil, one night he attacked his owner Ron Oxley
during a dinner party for British guests at their home.
                   
He taught us, and Melanie especially, to respect the animal
and not do anything that might annoy him, like scratch his nose or suddenly run
up and put your arms around him.’
Other advice included not turning one’s back on him as he loved to come and
trip people, knowing that if you move quickly he will want to play and he plays
‘rough’ and to pet him under his chin or deep in his mane but not on his face. 

Most important, they were warned to take care the lion didn’t become
possessive about anything, even a chair, which is when they are at their
most dangerous …

Indeed, after she, Melanie and the rest of their family suffered a string of serious injuries inflicted by the big cats they went on to adopt after Neil, Hedren has turned full circle in her attitude to such exotic pets.
Now 84, she runs a sanctuary, California’s Shambala Preserve, for some
32 big cats, and is an outspoken critic of the practice – still legal in
much of the U.S. – of keeping them as domestic pets.

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