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Victim admits yelling and waving at tiger but zoo still at fault

By Gary Bogue
Friday, January 18th, 2008 at 7:15 am in tiger attack, Zoos.

According to the Associated Press, one of the young men attacked by the tiger at the San Francisco Zoo supposedly told another victim’s father that they were standing atop a railing and yelling and waving at the tiger shortly before the Christmas Day attack.

If that is true, then the two brothers and their friend were completely out of line and may actually have made the tiger angry enough to try and get out of its cage. If authorities can prove that they taunted the tiger and this violates any laws, then they should be prosecuted for same.

However, we must not forget the S.F. Zoo’s own responsibilities in this matter.

Dangerous zoo animals — any zoo animals — should not be able to get out of their cages, regardless of any yelling or taunting.

If the tiger had been properly caged … it would not have been able to escape its enclosure and kill one young man and injure two others.

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No Responses to “Victim admits yelling and waving at tiger but zoo still at fault”

  1. jimp Says:

    I totally agree. I’ve taken my five year-old to that zoo many times and had her sit on my shoulders and yell “Daddy! A Tiger!” and jump up and down and shriek with excitement. It wasn’t taunting the tiger, but from the tiger’s perspective was I offering it a snack? If the tiger decided it wanted to eat a five year old that was yelling and jumping up and down on daddy’s shoulders is that my fault? I don’t think so.

    I think these guys were rude and should be banned from the zoo. It’s still the zoos fault, however. That animal should not be able to get out of there no way, no how. Ask Roy Horn what it takes to “agitate” a tiger enough to come pretty close to killing you.

  2. ckc Says:

    that tiger was in that incloser for years before those idiots came along,i think they got what was coming to them.if you taunt me(or anybody else) long enough you’ll have to deal with the consequences

  3. Mike Ahmadi Says:

    If this is True then the two that caused it then the San francisco District atterny should consider exersing accountability with the two individuals for there was not any problems for familys coming into the zoo in the past and bringing their young children to see the tiger befor. Sincereley, Mike Ahmadi P.S. My mom used to take me to that zoo in the 1960’s the the 1980’s and the only reson i never took my children was because i lived in the mid-west when i became an adult.

  4. RXC Says:

    Your write “If the tiger had been properly caged … it would not have been able to escape its enclosure and kill one young man and injure two others.” That sounds right. But there is at least an argument emerging that the victims went beyond clear safety barriers, and that may have caused, or significantly contributed to the incident. I’m sure the writer in comment 1 above would not dangle his child over the railing.

  5. Debbie Theodore Says:

    Tigers come to life after dark. Natural, normal function. People who drink and go to a zoo on Christmas Day are asking for trouble. As an animal lover, I cringe thinking what kind of taunt it took for this tiger to leap as she did. As a parent, I would understand we are entering an animals protected domain, and we are actually tresspassers at a certain point. TO think that a lawsuit is a possibility in this case, and people would profit from something as ghastly as this, turns my stomach. May I sue these boys, for the everlasting dismay I feel, the images I have reoccuring in my mind, and the grief I feel for the innocent animal, acting merely on instincts????? If there is any monetary gain here, I would feel that it should be donated to the zoo, to fix the enclosure, to make sure that people feel safer WHEN THEY INTENTIONALLY TAUNT THE ANIMALS….
    I knew in an instant, when I heard what happened, what really must have transpired. I respect the victims father, for admitting his findings about this. My heart goes out to him for his loss. It was unnecessary. It is a tragedy all around.

  6. Gary Bogue Says:

    Well spoke, Debbie. /Gary

  7. Kirk Says:

    I don’t care what the 3 kids did to taunt the tiger, there should have been no way for the animal to escape. Tiger’s kill for fun. They don’t have to be hungry. The zoo officials are 100% at fault, as they did not sufficiently protect the public. I don’t even know why there is talk about prosecuting the kids. Who cares if the kids were drinking and/or smoking pot? The young man did not deserve to die because the zoo did not properly contain the animal. There should be zero possibility of a dangerous animal escaping an exhibit in a public zoo.

  8. PG Says:

    At what point is zoo security sufficient while still allowing the public to enjoy the animals? For decades, nothing happened at this facility—nor has this type of an incident ever happened in any zoo to a member of the general public. Based on that record, was it logical for the SF Zoo to assume that the likelihood of such an event was slim to none? Absolutely! Where they erred was in not factoring in what is sounding more and more like criminal behavior on the part of 3 drunken kids with nothing better to do on Christmas Day. Police found one boy’s shoe print on the enclosure railing. Zoo personnel reported finding a bloodied sign 18″ inside the enclsoure and foreign objects in the area the tiger was known to frequent at that time of the day. That’s not taunting–that’s animal abuse. To scale the heights of that enclosure plus the other obstructions in its path, that tiger had to be REALLY PO’d. This wasn’t the action of just a startled or even agitated feline–it WAS more typical of a animal pushed to its limits. And as a result of this sheer and egregious cruelty and stupidity, 2 lives were lost.

    News Flash: Regardless of how high the enclosures get, ANY zoo is a dangerous place if the public cannot be counted upon to follow the rules and treat these animals with the respect they deserve. I’m so sick and tired of people not taking responsibility for their actions, instead taking aim at institutions that are trying their best in the face of a society that extols the virtues of bad behavior. Enough already!

  9. Mike Taylor Says:

    First off, my thoughts and prayers go out to Carlos’ family. It’s a shame that it had to happen. BUT, if the tiger was taunted, as it seems to be more the case, I believe the human victims are more at fault that the tiger. First off, some “common sense” should tell you not to mess with a wild animal. And then, what were these guys doing drinking alcohol? I don’t believe any of them were 21 or older. The tiger reacted on it’s own instincts and I won’t deny that the protective wall “may not” be up to standards, but good common sense from humans should be applied, as well. It ultimately will most likely end up as a “Catch 22″ incident and fault will be pointed in both directions, I’m sure. It’s a shame that 2 lives were fatally affected by this tragedy (Carlos’ and the tiger’s) and hopefully going forward, everyone will take more precaution and practice more safety measures on “both sides of the wall” (Zoo guests and Zoo officials).

  10. LL Says:

    I don’t think the zoo should be blamed for these kid’s bad behavior. The zoo has passed inspection and had no reason to believe there was a problem.

    Any time I’ve been to the zoo the tigers are basically lounging around minding their own business.

    These kids were behaving badly and need to take responsibility for their own actions. Too many people these days are quick to blame anyone they can for their own bad behavior.

    I don’t think the zoo should be responsible in any way. Although, now that they’ve been advised that the height of the enclosure should be raised to meet today’s standards they should make that correction and then the facility should be re-inspected.

  11. dw Says:

    How many fathers have stood by their 4 year old daughters encouraging her to “roar at the tiger”?

    Surely, taunting the tiger.

    The zoo spokesman is a disgrace. He made a fuss about the marijuana. What’s this, tigers are particularly inflamed by people using marijuana? I mean, this is the SF zoo. I’m guessing that people have smoked marijuana while roaring at tigers before.

    If there’s more to it that that. For example, if the young men observed and encouraged an aggressive behavior, that might explain how this occurred, but even then…

  12. RB Says:

    Let’s be honest. Teenagers do things that we adult are easily deploring here but I’m pretty sure any urban youth at some point of their teen years have done something they’re not proud of and will in fact deplore now if a teen does it. Dark side of people come out in circumstances that empower them. I read an article last year where in a university experiment normal students acting as jail officials started abusing fellow students acting as detainees and the experiment had soon to be abandoned. In this case teenagers showed their dark side in an environment that empowered them (or that’s how they or anyone would have perceived). But because zoo officials failed to provide a safe place, the result was deadly. To me, zoo is 100% responsible.

  13. bhf Says:

    I would like to commend PG on his views of public awareness toward proper behavior at the Zoo. The Zoo can only be liable to a certain extent, beyond which, we need to understand that there in no amount of money to make a Zoo 100% safe. I think that this incident needs to be worked out by the proper officials to see if the Zoo was negligent at all. They also need to figure out where the victim’s role went beyond the proper actions of a visitor to the Zoo.

  14. Al Leverty Says:

    Common sense, folks, common sense. Something must have occurred for Tatiana to react differently than she ever had and escape the enclosure. There was no indication of any brain disease, so the stimulus must have come from outside. Is the Zoo and City liable? Of course, no arguments there, except to what degree. It’s sad that Carlos and Tatiana are gone. It’s even sadder that law-abiding individuals who show respect for the rights of the animals at the Zoo are going to watch 2 individuals who didn’t respect the animals act like jerks and walk away with a large amount of cash. Saddest of all are the bloggers, lawyers, politicians, et al saying that it doesn’t matter what the Dhaliwals did. WRONG !! A classic indictment of a society that eschews individual responsibility and rewards those who feel entitled to whatever they want, no matter who they hurt or how they act. Homo sapiens are supposed to be the higher species. Tatiana’s fate was in the hands of humans, and we failed her. Please explain to me how the Dhaliwals acted like a higher species than Tatiana did. RIP Carlos Sousa and Tatiana!!

  15. Barry Says:

    Society rarely can say anything about inappropriate public behavior as the jerks are just expressing themselves. Mother Nature has a way of weeding out jerks. Thank you Mother Nature!

  16. LN Says:

    The role of personal responsibility is often difficult to envision in one’s own body. In many cases, it takes several people, or a community, to help realize what the role of our personal responsibility is in a given situation. With proper signs asking visitors to “not abuse, taunt the animals”, one must ask why aren’t these people responsible for understanding the rules of a public facility (benefit) which they are using? If I utilize a ball field and one day decide to climb up the overhead lights (for example) and fall off, I think it’s reasonable to assume this is my personal responsibility, even without a sign saying such. Should I sue the city for not properly protecting lightposts from climbers?
    God forbid the loss of their family member due to their asinine behavior, but please don’t comprise our social benefit for an increasing lack of personal responsibility in an information-laden world. Shame on those two and their family for pursuing legal action for their obvious lack of responsibility and awareness. I recommend they make a public statement and utilize their energies towards improving zoo safety and increasing our public benefit from this horrible incident.

  17. Laura Says:

    If these young men can sue for the tiger attack, which they fascilitated, can Tatiana sue for her loss of life? Can the rest of us sue for the loss of Tatiana?

  18. George Says:

    First: Duhhhh. Second: I hope the brothers’ civil suit goes to trial where, after due consideration by the judge or jury, an award of $1 is made.

  19. sv Says:

    Taunting occurring at a zoo? How unexpected? Really?
    The zoo should expect all kinds of behavior from visitors and take proper steps to protect everyone. If this dangerous animal got out on its own, they are clearly at fault. Stop blaming the victims.

  20. cc Says:

    The zoo failed to meet it’s obligation to safeguard both the public and the zoo resident (the tiger). There is no excuse for an inadequate enclosure, doesnt matter how old it was. Every upgrade to the enclosure requirements made by the association of zoos since the place was built were the responsibility of the zoo to meet. Sometimes the public needs to be protected from itself (when young guys do dumb things for example) and the animal should always be protected by not allowing her to do what is instinctual to her – attack and kill the thing provoking her (zoo patrons).
    I have always enjoyed the zoo, but i feel that the zoo must accept the responsibility in this case. Sometimes the public behaves badly, and tigers always want to kill things, but those two should never be allowed to cross paths because of an inadequate enclosure.

  21. Barry Says:

    LN above, writes “personal responsibility is often difficult to envision in ones own body”. That is a great Lib statement to excuse inappropriate behavior. Once you assume this opinion, you no longer hold anyone accoutable for their actions therefore no one is accountable. Which is what the Libs and snake lawyers want you to believe. And you wonder why kids act like jerks(and parents) and there is an increase in crime. This situation is tragic, not only the death of an individual but also the tiger. Considering their behavior, I think I could rightly assume this isn’t the only time these kids acted inappropriately or done things that were illegal with no respect for anyone but themselves. One must also question the up bringing of these kids. Maybe this incident will shake them up enough to act more human than like animals. I have sincere doubt that this will happen as the Libs and snake lawyers will influence these jerks that they were wronged. Want to see what one thing is wrong with the Liberal mind set and society, just watch the real venom of the snake lawyers that excuse, justify and portray them as victims for the love of money! Who’s the real animals?????

  22. Debbie Theodore Says:

    SV: Would you feel the same way if some one came in to your property, taunted, and abused your beloved dog and then was the cause of his death, and tried to sue you because the dog bit them before he died?

  23. Tatiana Bengali Says:

    Taunting a tiger is dumb, but not punishable by death or mauling. The boys are a couple of knuckleheads who, despite their boorish behavior, are the victims, not the wild beast, which acted like a wild beast, or the Zoo, which abdicated its duty.

  24. TigerLover Says:

    This is not a case of people vs tiger in nature. They were not in the wild. They were in the zoo! The zoo is supposed to protect BOTH their animals and the public. So, the boys who taunted the tiger deserve it, you may say. But what if the tiger, once set loose by whosoever, mauled and killed innocent by- standers? That’s not that unlikely a scenario and must be taken into consideration. Note that even among the boys, it’s the youngest, the least guilty (less drunk, less misbehaved) one who paid the utmost price. So the conclusion has to be: no matter what the boys had done, it’s the zoo’s responsibility to make sure that the tiger couldn’t get out–for the tiger’s sake, for the innocent people’s sake. I think the boys should be duely prosecuted for breaking the law if there’re enough evidences against them. But the zoo must be held accountable. Poor Titiana, poor Carlos, RIP!

  25. Barry Says:

    You got it wrong Tatiana Bengali, it was punishable by death according to the tiger. The tiger took into it’s own jaws what society does not! So sue the tiger! What idiots we now raise. Oh, that’s right we are in CA and don’t have to look far to find them!

  26. T basile Says:

    The zoo had a standard to maintain and they did not, the fence did not meet the standards set up to be a safe enclosure. They along with the agencys that set the standard and see that they are enforced are 100 % to blame. the tiger should of not been able to escape the enclosure.

  27. DeeDee Says:

    While I feel bad for these young men and their families; most of my sympathy is for the tiger. If they did indeed taunt and tease a caged creature they invited the attack. Zoos should do a better job of policing their exhibits to protect the animals they subject to public view; better yet these animals should never be exhibited for public pleasure; snd should have the option of being out of view. Perhaps a good natural habitat w/video cameras that allow others to see them.

  28. Barry Says:

    You got it wrong Basile, the real animals got into the zoo and they were taught a lesson by the tiger. I would never award their stupidity with any monetary award. However in CA stupidity is not only awarded it’s held in high asteem as the norm. It won’t be hard to find some CA numbskulls that feel sorry for these jerks. They should lick their wounds and go back to the jungle hopefully to reflect on their behavior before showing themselves in public again. Of course the zoo should take steps to protect the public but when you purposely act like an animal and provoke such an incident you have no sympathy from me. The zoo should take any correctings necessay so this doesn’t happen again but no monetary award to the animals that invaded the zoo if I was on a jury.

  29. S Says:

    They got what they went looking for. Wild animals should not be kidnapped and held as prisoners for humans to stare at and taunt. They want to live in their own habitats and be LEFT ALONE! I feel sadness for Tatiana as she was desperate to leave her caged life and she knew she would be killed if she did this. She got her freedom the only way she could.

    This is a lesson to humans that other living beings do NOT want to be held captive. It is not the proper use of Creation – they have the right to live on this Earth.

  30. Erik Says:

    As for the zoo being 100 percent responsible, consider this scenario: If someone climbs a fence and jumps into the Polar Bear pond, does that person have no responsibility for what happens next? How fool-proof does a zoo need to be?

  31. Chillymost Says:

    Writer # 1 who knows what Roy Horn did to that tiger. Sure it’s all pretty in front of the audience. When no one is around… Also like you said for 60 years people have taken their kids to that zoo. Laughed and played in front of that exhibit. Suddenly Tatiana snaps? Maybe someone was IN her area.

  32. Bill Says:

    I have said a lot of things on oher board about the zoo NOT being at fault. 1) The zoo met REQUIRED standards for theirs walls. What the news has reported is the recommended standard, but not what they require. Mny zoos are not up to this requirement, hence why they are following this case so closely. 2) The men went into the habitat of the tiger. With common sense, they should not have been there. Regardless of the “we’ve all done stupid things” argument, if what you did cost a life you are still responsible for it. 3) On those lines, the wall IS high enough for small kids to not scale to get into the habitat. The zoo has done its job there. For those that should know better, that is THEIR responsibility. We can’t have a warning for every stupid thing we as humans might do.

    One more thing however unrelated to animals to bring a human aspect. Has anyone hear ever attended a sporting event? There are announcements, warnings, written legal jargon, etc about flying objects as such just like the zoo has signs about not going into exhibits. If someone were hit in the head with a ball after all the warnings, they were still there at their own risk and likely the park would not be sued. Likewise the men put themselves at risk by entering the tiger habitat with warnings not to enter. The zoo should not be sued for the stupidity of these men as like many other things we allow people to sue for, it only takes away the lesson of being responsible adults.

  33. Pat in Antioch Says:

    I also feel that the responsibility of safety (both the tiger and all visitors) rests with the zoo. This was Tatiana’s home (such as it is) and the zoo failed her miserably if it was not up to standards. It failed the young men too, who while the definitely should not have been taunting her in any way, shape or form did not deserve to be killed or maimed. Tatiana was simply being a tiger.

  34. Barry Says:

    I hate to tell you Pat in Antioch, but Mother Nature decided who deserved to be killed or maimed. Hopefully these CA jerks learned a lesson that our criminal system, non disciplined children by incompetent parents, liberal lawyers, judges etc. and society in general which fails to hold accountability or responsibility of their children but Mother Nature doesn’t care about the Liberal mentality we have created. There is a valuable lesson here if you open your eyes to see it. I sure wouldn’t want any of these individuals or snake lawyers make a red cent off this situation.

  35. Liz from LAH Says:

    I totally agree. I think that taunting caged animals is despicable, but the punishment to lack of empathy should not be death. The zoo left a known aggressive animal in an enclosure that was substandard. Good luck with that defense.

  36. Jon Council Says:

    Much will be argued in the upcoming months and perhaps years over the S.F. zoo incident involving a primal animal and a few even more primal behaving young men. What seemed lacking in all of it was an authentic respect for another living thing…not uncommon in today’s world, and unfortunately the real shame was that a majestic creature lost it’s life due to the lack of respect extended towards it..quite frankly, it was a difficult lesson to learn for the survivors, but I feel sympathy for the cat, and very little for the idiot who did plenty to bring about his own demise.
    In the end, nature works as she always has, weeding out the weak and inept through natural selection, if you want to be particularly stupid, don’t be too shocked if your stupidity blows up in your face.

  37. punks Says:

    i wish all of them would have been killed. they deserve what the tiger got for what they did. i’m sure the tiger can feel the difference between a child’s excitement and being taunted moron.

  38. Susan Says:

    How does one determine that something is “safe?” If the enclosure was safe for 50-60 years, and other enclosures of the same height holding big cats at other zoos around the world were safe for decades, how could anyone at the S.F. Zoo foresee this happening? This suit is like a person spilling a drink on the floor, then slipping on their own spill, and suing the building management for the slippery floor. Or smoking on a sofa, falling asleep with the cigarette, catching on fire, and suing the sofa manufacturer.

    I’m so sick of people not taking responsibility for their own actions. And I’m really tired, as a taxpayer, of continuing to finance payouts on these frivolous lawsuits. You reap what you sow, and what goes around, comes around. It might just creep up and bite you in the butt! Arrrrrrrrrgh!

  39. bhf Says:

    How much will you donate to the Zoo to make it SAFER? What we need is to not dwell on the past, but come up with a fix that we are all happy with. Perhaps, with a proper fix, we will all assume the risk of entering a Zoo that cannot be 100% fool proof. Especially when there are fools among us. One thing I believe is needed are surveillance cameras that monitor Zoo visitor behavior and security personel to patrol and quickly remove trouble makers.

  40. laag Says:

    What would Darwin say? Tiger did what she was supposed to do (eliminate threats) and the one kid wont be contributing the the gene pool. works for me

  41. JB Says:

    So, if a person explains to us that the Zoo should expect the bahavior displayd by these three idiots be held responsible, then is that not similar to blaming gun companys for idividuals pulling the triger of a loaded gun in a crowded place. I think that it only takes common sense and repect to hold back from acting like a complete jerk in a Zoo. These men, not teens, behavoir should not be overlooked. They angerd the beast by invading its space, and now the city and zoo will pay the price. That is why, I think the zoo should fight this battle to the bitter end so that these punks do not get a dime from there lack of respect towards the animals.

  42. Darin Says:

    Call of the Wild, Disney, etc… is at fault for our personification of animals. A good share of people have lost sight of what an animal is. They are not friends. They don’t reason.

  43. Charles_M_Johnson Says:

    To all who feel the zoo is not responsible, would you go to that same zoo if there have not been any changes to that enclosure?

    If your answer is “yes”, then Darwin was right.

  44. Joan Says:

    It is interesting that so many people say “there was never a problem before with this tiger” as if that really means something. There are often big tragedies, like the Columbine massacre, and while there may be some warning signs, people and other animals will become homicidal without a lot of warning. And occasionally without a lot of provocation. The Roy Horn attack that occurred, as another reader mentioned, is an excellent example. This is why zoos have standards for barriers. I don’t want to visit a zoo with the assumption that the animals are kept happy enough that none of them make a heroic attempt at escape their enclosure. There are many occasions in breeding or using animals that their owners decide that it is too dangerous to keep them.

  45. Lab SeniorINTJ Says:

    June 3, 2008 Yes, the way I see it, S.F. Zoo is at one-half fault. I’ve been there many times as a child and also as an adult. I really don’t know if I want to visit there anymore because of their lack of safety measures in the past to protect the public. I wonder how many other U.S. Zoos are lacking safety measures for the public?
    The Daliwahls are also not Angels either, I do believe that while under the influence, they knowingly did whatever they could to aggravate Tatiana, the Tiger. By the way, after she jumped out, did she run off in any other direction to escape? Of course not, after attacking Carlos, she still had the scent of the two Daliwahl brothers and deliberately tracked them to the food shack & then retaliated. Also, I’ve never read anything about the Dhaliwals calling for anyone to get help because a Tiger just mauled Carlos! I just read that the shack’s occupants didn’t let them inside because it was closing time.
    For the Courts part, I would make the S.F. Zoo fix all problems before anyone is ever let back inside & have a Federal inspection once a year on all the U.S. Zoos’ and if there’s a problem, shut them down until they fix it. Also, I would make the S.F. Zoo pay for all the Dahliwahl’s doctor bills past and current pertaining to this event. Next, pay all the funeral expenses and any others incurred for Carlos Sousa Jr.
    For the Dhaliwal’s, they’re currently into big trouble with the Law prior to these aggravated killings at the S.F. Zoo and I would never give them any money for “pain and aggravation”! As the saying goes, “A man is known by the company he keeps!” They’re not boys but men and after reading about their current and past actions, I’d say they’re on the lookout now for some easy money.

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