updated 6/23/2005 2:57:22 PM ET 2005-06-23T18:57:22

A 10-year-old boy was attacked and critically injured by a tiger and a lion that were among a dozen large animals kept by a businessman, authorities said.

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Russell LaLa of Royalton was injured Wednesday when he and his father visited Chuck Mock, who authorities say is the owner of 11 large cats and a bear. The boy was in critical condition Thursday at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Authorities said Mock opened the door of a cage and a tiger pushed its way out to attack the boy. When the owner was pulling off the tiger, a lion bit Russell, Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said.

Mock, the owner of Best Buy Auto near Little Falls, did not immediately return telephone calls to his home and office Thursday.

Wetzel said Mock has registered 12 animals with the state — 11 large cats and one bear. The sheriff said he thought Mock kept the animals as “a novelty.”

“I don’t think anyone should have them,” Wetzel said. “Just because you’re legal doesn’t mean you’re safe.”

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