Well, DUH! Through the Freedom of Information Act, the AP finally saw the full report of the Christmas Day 2007 attack on brothers Amritpal (Paul) and Kulbir Dhaliwal and their teenage friend, Carlos Sousa, Jr., at the San Francisco zoo by Tatiana, a Siberian tiger who escaped from her enclosure and killed Sousa.
In spite of eyewitness reports of the guys acting rowdy, branches, pine cones, and a 9-inch rock found inside the enclosure (that could only have been thrown there), a human footprint on top of the enclosure that just happened to match Paul’s, and even Paul’s admission that they’d been teasing the tiger, authorities tried to paint Tatiana as a big cat who just went ape and tried to shred them for no reason.
I guess people needed it to justify Tatiana’s senseless murder by uniformed chicken-shits who’d never heard of tranquilizer darts and were later awarded “medals of valor” for killing the cat at point-blank range in cold blood.
AP discovered that Laurie Gage, a tiger expert who contributed to the USDA report, had her statement stricken from the report: “With my knowledge of tiger behavior, I cannot imagine a tiger trying to jump out of its enclosure unless it was provoked.”
Long-time Cats Working readers will remember that Fred covered this story extensively, including the interesting lives of the Dhaliwal brothers. After the incident, they continued their routine of drinking and driving, stealing, drugging, lying to police, and bouncing in and out of jail.
Represented by lawyer Mark Geragos, in 2008 the brothers filed a civil suit and walked away with a settlement of $900,000 from the zoo.
On the first anniversary of Tatiana’s demise, local sculptor Jon Engdahl unveiled his memorial to Tatiana, sitting halfway up San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill. San Francisco Citizen got some great photos of the sculpture.
If you want to see all the actual documents, here’s a link courtesy of the San Jose Mercury News.