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Author: Subject: Tiger Escapes at San Francisco Zoo, Kills One, Injures Two

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  posted on 12/28/2007 at 09:34 AM
Can you imagine your 17 year old son not coming home or calling on Christmas Day? Then the following morning you get a call from the San Francisco Medical Examiner's Office: "Does he have a silver and black No. 32 Marcus Allen jersey?", the coroner asked.
"Right then", said Carlos Sousa, Sr., "I knew it was my son." The Medical Examiner's office identified the teen killed by the tiger as Carlos Sousa, Jr., of San Jose.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums called it the first fatal attack on a visitor by an escaped animal at an accredited zoo. "The purpose of the criminal investigation is to see if the tiger was able to get out on it's own or whether there was human involvement,", said San Francisco Police Chief Heather Fong. She said that included reviewing whether the animal was taunted before the attack. The zoo does not have video surveillance, police said.

Sometime shortly after 5 P.M. Christmas Day, the 4-year-old tiger, named, Tatiana, escaped from her fortified grotto. Once free, she attacked Carlos, who died at the scene. Two friends, unable to help, fled only to be tracked down and attacked as well, police said. As calls flooded 911 dispatchers, police found Tatiana attacking another man near the zoo's Terrace Cafe, about 300 yards from the big-cat grotto. They shouted to scare her off the man, then shot and killed her when she moved toward them, Fong said.

Police and hospital officials have not released the names of the two men who were injured in the attack, though a San Francisco police spokesman said they were brothers, also from San Jose. The survivors underwent hours of surgery to clean their wounds, San Francisco General Hospital's Rochelle Dicker said. Both men are doing "quite well" she said, and neither should suffer lasting physical effects of the attack.

In addition to the police investigation, the zoo also faces possible legal action. San Francisco attorney Matt Davis said California law holds the owner of a wild animal "strictly liable" for any injury it causes to a person. "The zoo would be liable even if some vandals were responsible for freeing the tiger from it's grotto", he said. The zoo is a partnership between the city of San Francisco and the San Francisco Zoological Society.

Tatiana's enclosure was reinforced after a 2006 attack on a zookeeper. Almost a year to the day before Tuesday's maulings, the tiger seriously injured keep Lori Komejan's arm during a regular feeding at the Lion House. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health ruled the zoo was responsible for that incident, blaming poor training and enclosure design. Zoo officials closed the Lion House for renovations and did not reopen it until September. Zoo director Manuel Mollinedo said Wednesday it would have been inappropriate to have put Tatiana down last year because the animal "was acting as a normal tiger does."

An 18 foot wall and a 20 foot dry moat serves as a buffer between the tiger and the public. The wall exceeds the 16.4-foot minimum suggested by the American Zoological Association. Zoo officials insisted the doorway into the tiger exhibit was locked, raising two disturbing possibilities: either that isn't true, or the precautions in place at the widely respected zoo were insufficient and could force a nationwide rethinking of tiger enclosures. Zookeepers and tiger experts across the country doubted the animal could have leaped or climbed out of it's walled and moated exhibit, a design employed at zoos around the country.

"I think it will come out that it was human error," said Mary Lynn Haven, director of Tiger Haven a sanctuary in Tennessee that keeps more than 200 tigers, lions and other big cats. "I do not in any way think this animal scaled a 16- to 20-foot wall. I just don't think that's possible."

All of the above information is quoted from the San Jose Mercury News, 12/27/07

[Edited on 12/28/2007 by robslob]

 

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Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 12/28/2007 at 10:35 AM
The 18ft wall has now been measured and is only 12 feet......way lower than the national standard.....and why is the moat dry??????......If that moat had 5 feet of water that cat could have never made the leap to get out......I don't think we'll ever know if the tiger was taunted or abused in some way to make it so agressive and even try to make an escape......Unless the other two survivors fess up to what they saw......

 

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  posted on 12/28/2007 at 11:48 AM
As much as I hate zoo's and captive animals I hate reading stories like this.Today's newspaper had a story that stated they found a shoe and blood inside the tiger's enclosure and hinted that the 3 kids were taunting the animal and aggravated it enough that it attacked them.

 

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  posted on 12/28/2007 at 03:02 PM
who in the world can't tell the difference between 12 and 18 feet???

that is a third of the height of the wall missing!

Major incompetence.

 

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  posted on 12/28/2007 at 06:00 PM
Please say a prayer for the keeper and her recovery.

 

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  posted on 12/31/2007 at 02:07 PM
Ok, so the wall is too short. Does it strike anyone as odd that the wall has been too short for so long yet the tigers have never jumped out. Yes, they harmed a trainer last year, but they never jumped out and mauled people. To Jack's post, I think these people did something to provoke the animals, just my feeling.
 

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  posted on 12/31/2007 at 02:29 PM
Any way to blame this on Bush?

 

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  posted on 12/31/2007 at 04:01 PM
quote:
The 18ft wall has now been measured and is only 12 feet......way lower than the national standard.....and why is the moat dry??????......If that moat had 5 feet of water that cat could have never made the leap to get out......I don't think we'll ever know if the tiger was taunted or abused in some way to make it so agressive and even try to make an escape......Unless the other two survivors fess up to what they saw......




I dont know how far the moat was from the wall but I do know
that Tigers Can Swim! So if there was space between the moat
and the wall then water would not have stopped her.

 

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  posted on 12/31/2007 at 08:26 PM
quote:
quote:
The 18ft wall has now been measured and is only 12 feet......way lower than the national standard.....and why is the moat dry??????......If that moat had 5 feet of water that cat could have never made the leap to get out......I don't think we'll ever know if the tiger was taunted or abused in some way to make it so agressive and even try to make an escape......Unless the other two survivors fess up to what they saw......




I dont know how far the moat was from the wall but I do know
that Tigers Can Swim! So if there was space between the moat
and the wall then water would not have stopped her.


The enclosure has a large upper area for them to hangout and that leads them to the feeding house(The place the keeper got attacked). Then at the front of this high flat upper area is a stairway to the moat and the the wall starts at the far end of the moat. If the moat had 3 - 4 feet of water the tiger could not get enough push with the weight of the water to make the jump.

I would also think that after thousands of little kids growling at the tiger for years, and it never attempted to get out, there was something that drove it to make the attempt this time and target certain people......

 

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  posted on 1/1/2008 at 11:53 PM
Sunday's San Jose Mercury News (12/30/07) went into depth about zoo regulations and what went wrong here. Turns out regulations such as height of a wall in a tiger's pen are very loosely defined; there are only "recommendations" as to how high a wall should be, and NO ONE has the power to enforce the "recommendations" anyway!! Does that make you want to go look at a tiger at a zoo this weekend? Certainly not me. Unfortunately for one 17 year old boy from San Jose, it may have taken his death for this to all change. As someone in the article said, "I guarantee zoo administrators all over the country have their tape measures out right now".
Also: It said that the enclosure which the tiger escaped from was built in 1940 and the dimensions of it, such as wall height, were probably "grandfathered" in because of it's age. Nice to know if you happen to be this kid's parents, eh?

 

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  posted on 1/2/2008 at 02:21 PM
The survivors had consumed a bottle of vodka prior to their zoo visit, crossed the barrier fence, were carrying slingshots when rescued and are not cooperating with authorities who are trying to determine what went wrong. It sounds like they provoked the animal.

 

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  posted on 1/3/2008 at 01:43 PM
As a wise man once said.

Don't keep your Steak Sauce on the same shelf as your Aqua Velva.








[Edited on 1/3/2008 by Brucebcd]

 

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  posted on 1/3/2008 at 04:55 PM
quote:
The survivors had consumed a bottle of vodka prior to their zoo visit, crossed the barrier fence, were carrying slingshots when rescued and are not cooperating with authorities who are trying to determine what went wrong. It sounds like they provoked the animal.


Looks like they may have deserved wott they got.

 

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  posted on 1/3/2008 at 05:04 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
The survivors had consumed a bottle of vodka prior to their zoo visit, crossed the barrier fence, were carrying slingshots when rescued and are not cooperating with authorities who are trying to determine what went wrong. It sounds like they provoked the animal.


Looks like they may have deserved wott they got.


And yet, they plan on suing the zoo.


I saw they hired "high profile" (publicity whore) Mark Geragos.

He's the white Al Sharpton.

 

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  posted on 1/3/2008 at 06:20 PM

And yet, they plan on suing the zoo.


Its the new American way....

 

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  posted on 1/3/2008 at 06:49 PM
Vodka + slingshots + Zoo trip = 1 dead + lawsuits against the zoo?


One Darwin Award winner.

 

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  posted on 1/3/2008 at 08:54 PM
quote:

And yet, they plan on suing the zoo.


Its the new American way....


I can tell you that the atomsphere of the people here have little sympathy for what those kids did and if they do win I bet it will a $1......By law they can sue and win but I can tell you I haven't spoken to one person out here that doesn't think that the tiger was provoked and did what it needed to do to protect it self.....Unfortunately this beautiful and rare animal lost it's life because of the lack of compliance with the wall height so the the zoo is responsible for not having an enclosure the tiger could not escape from other then human error(door left open or unlocked...).......

Those kids can also be prosecuted for wrongful death if it does comes out that they provoked the tiger and it killed their friend because of thier actions....I want to be a jurour on that trial......Don't think anyone here thinks those kids are not 100 percent responsible for what happened and Mark Gerigous can spin it and call it salami if he wants but if they provoked that animal they won't see a cent.....Let's at least hope for the light bulb of common sense to come on

 

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  posted on 1/4/2008 at 12:11 AM
quote:
quote:
The survivors had consumed a bottle of vodka prior to their zoo visit, crossed the barrier fence, were carrying slingshots when rescued and are not cooperating with authorities who are trying to determine what went wrong. It sounds like they provoked the animal.


Looks like they may have deserved wott they got.


Instant Karma is gonna get you

 

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  posted on 1/4/2008 at 04:17 PM
It has not yet been proven that: A. The tiger was provoked. B. There were slingshots involved. As goldtop has said, provocation would most likely reduce any monetary award in court. But it had better be some serious provocation! Do you mean to tell me that if a couple of guys were waving their arms saying "bad tiger" that would justify them getting killed or wounded? Let me quote yesterday's (1/3/08) San Jose Mercury News:

"No matter what the young men might have done to provoke the tiger, legal experts say, the zoo is responsible for keeping the tiger confined. If it escapes, the zoo is 'strictly liable,' said Peter Keane, law professor at San Francisco's Golden Gate Law School. 'If you have a wild animal and you keep it and it gets out of your control, you're liable,' Keane said."

"However, Keane said, any evidence of taunting could influence how much the zoo pays out in damages to the victims. If the case goes to court and a jury believes the men taunted the tiger and were partially responsible for the attack, the amount of the jury award can be reduced."

" 'If they just stood there and said, 'nah nah nah nah nah nah, you're a lousy tiger,' that would be one thing,' Keane said. 'The taunting itself would have to be some kind of conduct that a reasonable person would know would be dangerous, like going up on top of the fence and trying to lure the thing out. It would have to be more than throwing peanut shells at the tiger.' "

 

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  posted on 1/11/2008 at 06:00 PM
quote:
It has not yet been proven that: A. The tiger was provoked. B. There were slingshots involved. As goldtop has said, provocation would most likely reduce any monetary award in court. But it had better be some serious provocation! Do you mean to tell me that if a couple of guys were waving their arms saying "bad tiger" that would justify them getting killed or wounded?
robslob - I did not mean to imply that what happened to any victims was justified - any type of incident is a tragedy all the way around regardless. I was just posting what I had heard in what was recent news story at the time and I have since heard that many of the events surrounding this incident are still subject to review. (And I thought everything I read in the news was true!!! )

Still asking for prayers for the keeper. Thanks

[Edited on 1/11/2008 by lolasdeb]

 

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  posted on 1/11/2008 at 07:57 PM
I know I may have been too emotional about what happened before the truth comes out. It is a tragedy and the zoo is responsible. But I have a real problem when the people involved won't cooperate with the investigation....I can understand they have a right to privacy especially with their text and voice messages but if they have nothing to hide about their personal involvement then they should be able to come clean about what lead up to or what they were doing when the tiger jumped the wall. But they remain silent......

 

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  posted on 1/11/2008 at 08:13 PM
quote:
they should be able to come clean about what lead up to or what they were doing when the tiger jumped the wall. But they remain silent......



one might say the cat's got their tongue.

 

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  posted on 1/11/2008 at 08:21 PM
quote:
quote:
they should be able to come clean about what lead up to or what they were doing when the tiger jumped the wall. But they remain silent......



one might say the cat's got their tongue.


...Yes one might say

 

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  posted on 1/18/2008 at 02:41 PM
The younger of the two brothers, Paul Dhaliwal, 19, has now admitted to standing on top of the railing outside the tiger enclosure, while yelling and waving at the animal. Also, his blood alcohol level came back at .16, twice the legal limit in California. Alcohol was also found in the blood of the other two but was within legal limits. All three also had evidence of marijuana in their blood. Dhaliwal's confession came only after police found a shoe print on top of the railing and concluded that it matched a shoe he was wearing that day.

In another revelation Thursday, zoo officials said police removed a bloodied sign and post from the tiger exhibit as potential evidence during their investigation the day after the attack. Sam Singer, spokesman for the zoo, told the San Jose Mercury News that the sign had been about 18 inches in from the middle of the railing around the tiger exhibit, in an area "where the public is prohibited to go." The location is also near the area outside the railing where the body of 17-year-old Carlos was found. Singer said he does not know if blood tests have determined whose blood was on the sign.

 

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  posted on 1/18/2008 at 03:47 PM
Well, this explains their reluctance to cooperate with authorities. Still this is a terrible tragedy with one dead and this animal being put down.

Please say a prayer for the keeper. Thanks.

 

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