Now that the two surviving brothers have sobered up and attended their friend’s funeral, the truth is finally emerging about how they got mauled by Tatiana the tiger at the San Francisco zoo in December. Their attorney, Mark Geragos, who’s been a staunch defender of their innocence, isn’t returning phone calls.
The younger brother, Paul Dhaliwal, has had the decency to admit that he, his brother, and their friend provoked the tiger – all in fun, I’m sure.
High on vodka and marijuana, they stupidly stood on top of a 3-foot-high metal railing to yell and wave at the big cats. The footprint found on the railing matched Paul’s, whose blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit for driving and highest of the three.
Tatiana was likely just sitting there minding her own business, probably bored from being cooped up. She couldn’t believe her good fortune when three large, noisy, live-action cat toys appeared, and she found a way to reach them, probably by leaping and climbing out of her prison.
Everyone knows cats play rough, but maybe some people forget when they’re stoned. One of our favorite games is “Hunting,” where we stalk and pretend to kill our prey – usually a harmless catnip mouse. In Tatiana’s case, her toys were alive and she was playing with a tiger-sized jaw and paws.
They didn’t have a chance, and neither did she, as it turned out.
I hope Paul’s confession means the Dhaliwal brothers feel rich just being alive and are turning down Geragos’ offer to make them millionaires for having a hand in killing their friend and an innocent cat who just did what comes naturally.