Nov. 12 (UPI) -- A lion escaped from a circus and roamed an Italian town near Rome before it was captured, authorities said on Saturday.
Alessandro Grando, the mayor of the town of Ladispoli, said in a statement on Facebook on Saturday night, five hours after the lion went on the lam, that it was sedated and captured to be handed back over to circus staff.
"I hope that this episode can stir some consciences, and that we can finally put an end to the exploitation of animals in circuses," Grando said in his statement.
The mayor noted to residents that he did not authorize the circus because it is not up to him to do so."Unfortunately, we cannot ban circuses with animals from coming to our city," he said.
In 2017, Ladispoli tried to ban the circus but lost the appeal and had to reimburse the legal costs to the appellants.
He added, "Until the rules change, we won't be able to do otherwise."