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Boy mauled, killed by tiger that's owned by his aunt

MILLERS CREEK, N.C. (AP) — A woman's 400-pound Bengal tiger fatally mauled her 10-year-old nephew after pulling him under a fence and into his cage, authorities said.

The boy, Clayton James Eller, was shoveling snow Sunday afternoon near the tiger's cage, an enclosure made of chain link fence that had an opening at the bottom so the family's dog could go in and play, officials said.

"This little boy got too close, and it pulled him under the fence," coroner Howard Laney said.

The boy's uncle, James Marshall Eller, heard Clayton scream and saw it dragging the boy into its cage. Sheriff Dane Mastin said Eller tried in vain to get the tiger off the boy, then ran and got his gun and shot the tiger to death. But it was too late to save the boy.

The boy's mother, Angela Eller, had left the boy in the care of her sister Ruth Bynum, the tiger's owner, while she went to work, Mastin said. James Eller is the brother of the two women.