The tiger plot thickens

Everyone in San Francisco who had ever been to the zoo was shaken to learn that, on Christmas Eve, a tiger had escaped, killed one man, and savaged two others. The tiger had to be shot, to the horror of animal rights activists. In the beginning, no one knew what had happened, which was rather strange, considering that there were two survivors. Equally strange was the fact that there were no video cameras, which is a rarity in a facility opened to the public. The zoo director claimed that the victims must have taunted the animal into a frenzy in some way, only to be embarrassed out of that statement when it turned out that the barrier in the tiger’s grotto was too low. In the last couple of days, though, a couple of other stories have emerged that lend credence to the zoo director’s first impulsive statement. First, a witness has stated that she saw the victims screaming at and bullying the tiger. One could speculate, of course, that a lone victim is either inaccurate or, for self-aggrandizement, false. However, today, there was yet another story showing that the victims might have triggered the attack:

Soon after their 17-year-old friend was mauled to death by a tiger at the San Francisco Zoo, the two brothers who survived the attack made a quick pact not to cooperate with the police as they rode in an ambulance to the hospital, sources told The Chronicle.

“Don’t tell them what we did,” paramedics heard 23-year-old Kulbir Dhaliwal tell his brother, Paul, 19.

Sources also say that the younger brother was intoxicated at the time of the incident, having used marijuana and consumed enough liquor to have a blood-alcohol level above the .08 limit for adult drivers. The older brother also had been drinking and using marijuana around the time a 350-pound Siberian tiger escaped and killed Carlos Sousa Jr., the sources said.

The brothers’ initial refusal to cooperate has frustrated authorities in the days after the Christmas Day attack as investigators attempt to find out what might have precipitated it.

On Friday, the San Francisco city attorney fired off a letter to the brothers’ attorney, saying that the San Jose men have refused to let police see any photos or calls they might have made using their cell phones.

Although the police still possess the cell phones and have impounded the brothers’ car, city attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey said that without the Dhaliwals’ permission, police cannot legally search the items as potential evidence. Among the items police say they have spotted in the car is an empty vodka bottle.

The Zoo is certainly not off the hook. The fact that these men may have been bullies, boors, and liars does not excuse the Zoo for having a wall that was well within a tiger’s ability to scale. The surviving brothers also claim that Zoo works were slow to help them, a claim given credence by the fact that the Zoo workers were reluctant to let the police enter and forced them to go into a side entrance rather than through a more direct root route (which leaves one wondering why the police, responding to a 911 call, acceded to that demand).

Something good may have come of all this, though, which is the revelation that the Zoo has other safety problems. Considering the thousands of children who pass through that Zoo weekly, that information needs to be exposed and the problems fixed.


12 Responses

  1. It would seem doubtful that a suit would be brought against the zoo under the circumstances. Discovery might prove rather damaging to the plaintiffs.

  2. I remember a PC statement made very early on by some official – either from the city or from the zoo – that ‘the most dangerous animial in the city is man.’ Does any one else remember this? I don’t see how the zoo can not be held responsible for inadequate safety precautions to protect attendees, regardless of their age, maturity, or stupidity.

  3. If I were on the jury, I’d award the parents of the dead kid $1. Yes, the zoo should have had a higher wall. And yes, but for the actions of the kids, all would be fine.

    How many thousands of visitors passed by the tiger confinement safely?

  4. Man is the most dangerous creature on this earth. Proven by the fact that it takes actions from people to kill other people, in the case of the zoo or the potential instigators of the tiger attack.

    Incompetence and retardedness by both sides is not out of the question. Although that would be very hard to qualify as “dangerous” except to say that stupid people are dangerous to themselves and to other, more stupid people.

    Don’t do anything with a tiger unless you can kill the tiger with your bare hands or are prepared to use other tools. This includes both sides of this little conflict.

    The Zoo has their own problems, ones they couldn’t solve by trying to blame the people attacked nor ones that could be solved by getting the police to arrive in a less public location.

    With the stupidity of the human species on demonstration for us all, I’m surprised we made it this far.

  5. Greetings:

    Three people have been killed by animals in San Francisco since the turn of this century.

    The first was a woman killed by her apartment neighbors’ two Presa Caneros dogs. The owners ,both lawyers but only one of whom was present, were charged, convicted and jailed. There were underlying issues of the dogs owners connection to the Aryan Brotherhood and the victim’s homosexual status.

    The second was a boy killed by his family’s two Pit Bulls. The mother, who had left the child home alone with the dogs, was charged but not convicted. The father, who was out of state at the time, was not charged.

    The third was the still unraveling tiger attack at the SF Zoo.

    There are several commonalities to these incidents that I find remarkable. The first is the variation in outcomes. The basic fact of a human being killed by someone’s animal resulted in charges ranging from murder to child neglect. To my mind, this indicates a significant degree of emotionality in legally addressing these situations.

    The second is the lack of assumption of responsibility by those whom society allows to have ownership of the animals. In spite of a person’s actual death, none of the owners stepped up to that responsibility. To my mind, it looks like nobody is reading “Lord Jim” any more.

    The third is the resultant circus of media, animal rights advocates, lawyers, and politicians. The media follows its “if it bleeds, it leads” predilection for as long as possible. The animal rights play their “it natural for the animal” cards relentlessly. The lawyers and other advocates circle looking for work and their next check or donation. And the politicians, who are responsible for the animal control statues but don’t want to upset owners, keep their heads down as far as possible.

    It seems to me that the current system is not working. Animal advocates have had far too much impact on the animal control system. These deaths are not accidents, they are irresponsibilities. All of these animals were aggressive to the point that the owners had to know. How professional Zoo administrators can convince themselves that a tiger, that ripped the flesh off a zookeepers arm, is not different from others that had not, is beyond my imagination. How people can make a memorial to an animal that killed their fellow human being is appalling.

    The animal control system is a good example of the lunatics running the asylum. It is also a good example of the tyranny of a minority that has infiltrated and influenced a system, designed to protect all of our citizens, to the point where humans are losing their lives for the emotional needs of others.

  6. Y – Yes, man is a dangerous creature. But in the context in which I was writing – that of a confined tiger breaking free to kill a human from a public zoo – there is no way that man is the more dangerous creature.

  7. I read somewhere that there were memorials at the zoo for the dead tiger. Sure are some weird people around.
    On a gentle note, I am sure BW, that you meant route and not root.

  8. Thanks, Rockdalian, I did mean “route.” One of my common typos is to type a word that sounds the same, but that is spelled differently and has a different meaning entirely, and I forget which “nymn” that is.

  9. Certainly that man or those men weren’t more dangerous than the tiger, but that would have been true irregardless of where they were or what foe they faced. Nature gave humanity the ultimate weapon, the human brain. It isn’t the tiger’s fault that people didn’t choose to use their natural weapons correctly while the tiger did use its weapon correctly.

    A human has a better chance against a tiger than a human has against a bullshark in water. And it is a very real chance, so long as the tiger hasn’t got its jaws on your throat. If you are wounded, you can still fight.

  10. I think that is a homonymn book

  11. […] Tatiana the tiger story has legs. There is now rumor afoot that the two brothers who survived the attack will not […]

  12. Since all the positions of village idiots are taken throughout the Stupidpeopleworld why doesn’t Y apply for the position of God after all he has alot of experience in playing him/her on this blog.

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