Vindication for Tatiana the Tiger

By Fred

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.

6 Responses to Vindication for Tatiana the Tiger

  1. Yuriko says:

    Right on!

    I’ve been making posts about the tiger attack as well.. and I cannot believe that those boys have the balls to say that they are innocent bystanders. Well, the truth is coming out now, isn’t it? I wonder if this will tarnish their innocent characters in court.

  2. catsworking says:

    I think it certainly will hurt their court case, if it still goes to court. But Mark Geragos will undoubtedly want them to soak the zoo for all they can on the rationale that the enclosure walls should have been high enough to keep a provoked tiger in, no matter what anybody did to her. Those two boys will get dragged through the mud and have to live with it, but Geragos will collect his nice fat attorney’s fee.

  3. jenny says:

    If I was tatiana i would probably kill them too. The only two things i want to know are 1:who opened the door and let her out to her death and 2:why didn’t they just stun her instead of killing her. it wasn’t her fault. If you had been trapped in a cage your whole life wouldn’t you want to get out and kill anyone who got in your way

  4. catsworking says:

    Jenny, if you search on Tatiana in this blog, you’ll find all my posts on what happened. I’ve been following this story closely since it began.

    Tatiana wasn’t in a cage. She was in a big natural-looking enclosure with walls that weren’t high enough to keep her in if she really wanted to get out. There were enough eyewitness accounts and physical evidence to indicate the boys weren’t just standing there minding their own business.

    Some have tried to claim that Tatiana went after them because she was underfed, but her stomach was full when they autopsied her, so hunger wasn’t the motive.

    I agree that the zoo people should have tranquilized her instead of shooting her, but since she’d already killed one human, chances were they’d have decided to put her down anyway as a dangerous man-eater.

    Big cats don’t have a chance against humans when they get trapped in “civilization.” They do what comes naturally, then have to die for it. Yet humans who kill other humans get to sit in cages for DECADES, being fed and clothed by taxpayers. It makes no sense to me at all.

    The way Paul Dhaliwal is going, he may end up being one of those humans, too.

  5. Tatiana G. says:

    I don’t see how you can take a wild animal, stick it in a cage and actually be surprised when they attack. If you choose to cage an animal that should not be, then you have to be able to take the risk that comes with that. Hunting is in their nature. If you left them alone in their natural habitat, we wouldn’t have these problems.

  6. catsworking says:

    Tatiana, there have been many other attacks by tigers and big cats since this unfortunate incident with Tatiana, just because people insist in trying to keep them in cages. Fortunately, I think the guy who was probably the driving force behind Tatiana’s end is now behind bars for other crimes.

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