Litigation

The Ire of the Tiger

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In my column last week, I cited the recent fatal tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo as an example of blame shifting, because it seemed likely that one or more of the men who were mauled did something to provoke the tiger. Since then new details have reinforced that impression:

1) A witness told the San Francisco Chronicle she saw the two men who survived, Kulbir and Paul Dhaliwal, taunting the lions at the big-cat house where the tiger escaped. Notably, she said Carlos Sousa Jr., the 17-year-old who reportedly died after distracting the tiger from the Dhaliwal brothers, thereby saving their lives, did not participate in the taunting and seemed embarrassed by his friends' behavior.

2) The police saw an empty vodka bottle in the front seat of the car the Dhaliwals took to the zoo.

3) Paramedics told the Chronicle they overheard Sources told the Chronicle that paramedics overheard Kulbir Dhaliwal instruct his younger brother, "Don't tell them what we did."

The Dhaliwal brothers, who have retained a lawyer and almost certainly plan to sue the zoo, still have not given a complete account of the attack, even to police. Since it failed to build a wall high enough to keep an agitated tiger from escaping, the zoo is not blameless. But whoever agitated the tiger enough to provoke such an unprecedented attack should not receive a windfall as a result.

[via Overlawyered]

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  1. This all reminds me of that old SNL skit where Chris Farely and Co. all bet they can jump into the Polar Bear cage at the zoo and beat it swimming.

  2. 3) Paramedics told the Chronicle they overheard Kulbir Dhaliwal instruct his younger brother, “Don’t tell them what we did.”

    Isn’t it kind of against the law for EMTs to divulge incriminating things the patient said to them?

  3. No, I don’t think it is.

  4. This is why you should always carry a red laser pointer to the zoo.

    In the event of a tiger attack, you can distract him by getting him to chase the red dot.

  5. I had a friend who spent a couple of years in Fairbanks Alaska. The Zoo there has a polar bear named binky. He told me two years in a row someone jumped into Binki’s cage and was promptly eaten. In Alaska you are not the top of the food chain. Someone took to selling bumber stickers that read “Binki 2 Tourists 0”

  6. BUMP!
    BUMP-BUMP-BUMP!
    BUMP-BUMP-BUUUUUMMMM!

    Risin’up,
    Back on my fee-et …

  7. Has there ever been a lawsuit in regard to a zoo not doing enough to keep humans out of the animal pen?

    It seems like it could be a pretty good path to a seven-figure settlement.

    1) Jump into lion pit
    2) Get mauled
    3) Sue zoo for not providing enough protective measures from dangerous animals
    4) Profit
    5) Reconstructive surgery

  8. ” Carlos Sousa Jr., the 17-year-old who reportedly died after distracting the tiger from the Dhaliwal brothers, thereby saving their lives, did not participate in the taunting and seemed embarrassed by his friends’ behavior.”

    A pity the tiger didn’t kill the brothers insteard.

  9. “Has there ever been a lawsuit in regard to a zoo not doing enough to keep humans out of the animal pen?”

    If there was a minor involved, I would bet there has been. A lion in a cage is certainly an attractive nuisence to a child and the zoo has a duty to build high enough fences to keep the dumb little bastards out. I am not condoning the law, just telling it.

  10. I think it’s a bit speculative to say that the tiger wouldn’t have escaped without provocation. I cite as an example, my dog. Given enough time, if there’s a way for him to escape the back yard, he will eventually find it and escape for no other reason than because he can. What’s to say that the flash on someone’s camera or a crying kid couldn’t have set it off. Either way, when you visit a zoo, you have a reasonable expectation that the animals aren’t going to escape.

  11. The tigers hate us for our freedom, because we give our females rights, because of our free market in zebra meat. It has nothing to do with taunting!

    I was there on 12/25, I don’t ever want to see an attack like that happen again!

  12. I will never understand why anybody would fuck with an animal that can kill you with one swipe of its paw. Even if said animal is behind a fence. Hadn’t these idiots ever seen what a tiger is capable of (or in Binky’s case, what fucking bears are capable of)? Maybe watch a little Discovery Channel or NG?

  13. If the dudes had said “I got mauled by a tiger cause I taunted it” that might be covered because it was stated for the purpose of getting medical attention. From what was said above, the conversation was more for the purposes of obstructing justice between the two brothers, and so probably isn’t covered.

  14. “because it seemed likely that one or more of the men who were mauled did something to provoke the tiger.”

    No amount of taunting should make it OK that a freakin’ tiger escaped. Rule #1 in Zookeeping: The animals probably shouldn’t be able to escape.

    Repeat after me: No amount of taunting makes it OK that tigers could escape from their pen. It is never OK if a tiger escapes from its pen. Tiger pens should hold the tigers. A tiger pen that does not hold the tigers ceases to be a tiger pen, by its very nature.

  15. Didn’t some rich idiot pay to play with a chimp and get his face and balls ripped off. Same zoo I think.

  16. Safari Tourist: I’ve heard that if you carry a long pole, tigers won’t attack. Is that true?

    Safari Guide: It depends on how fast you carry the pole.

  17. Too bad they didn’t put webcams on all the large animals’ heads at the zoo (my idea if I ever own a zoo). This would have been great Internet theater, not to mention probably giving the evidence to save the zoo big $$ in the forthcoming lawsuit.

  18. The way this should have gone is as follows: Drunk yahoos tease Tiger. Tiger goes ballistic, and escapes it’s enclosure. Tiger eats drunk yahoos. Tiger sleeps off the residual booze. Sadly, the Dhaliwal’s chose wisely in their friends

  19. Everything about this is just sad and tragic. None of the entertaining hilarity of Roy Horn or Timothy Treadwell.

  20. “Didn’t some rich idiot pay to play with a chimp and get his face and balls ripped off. Same zoo I think.”

    In Ess Eff, you pay extra for the ball ripping.

  21. A jury summons I would be overjoyed to recieve.

  22. Isn’t it kind of against the law for EMTs to divulge incriminating things the patient said to them?

    I’m not sure what the law is as far as it pertains to EMT’s. Generally speaking, the policy reasoning behind recognizing such confidentiality is to encourage patients to fully disclose their condition to treaters without fear of self-incrimination. In this situation, if the EMT simply overheard one making the statement to another, and it wasn’t made to the EMT for purposes of treating him, there’s a good possibility the statement wouldn’t be privileged. Of course, I’m looking at it in terms of what would be admissible in court should the victims sue, as opposed to what would possibly leave the EMT open to civil or criminal liability.

  23. The zoo should be held liable for not investing in tiger repelling rocks.

  24. Oops… Just noticed Toxicroach already said pretty much the same thing. Must… skim… more carefully.

  25. My suspicion, based on nothing other than my suspicious nature, is that these two bozos hired Geragos for a reason other than that John Edwards couldn’t take the case.

    How many years had that tiger been living in that “exhibit” without demonstrating any interest in leaving?

  26. What’s wrong with Tiger? Tiger is my friend! Tiger would never hurt anybody!

  27. Mr. Sullum seems to think that a tiger is like the Incredible Hulk, where the madder it gets, the stronger it gets. Not so. If the tiger was capable of leaping the wall in response to some taunting jerks, then it was capable of leaping the wall in response to a noisy kindergarten class. The zoo just got lucky that the latter didn’t happen.

    It’s not the victims who are shifting blame here, but rather the zoo (and Mr. Sullum). Why shouldn’t the zoo have to take responsibility for the negligent design of its enclosure?

  28. I will never understand why anybody would fuck with an animal that can kill you with one swipe of its paw.

    At my old job, we had a lake behind our building. Like a lot of lakes here in Florida, it had gators. There were people dumb enough to feed these animals. Too bad there’s no such thing as tard repellent.

  29. IMRO, tigers are the most beautiful mammals on the whole planet. I mourn the noble beast and note that it’s name has not been provided. Surely the relatives have been notified by now.

  30. lesson # one:
    Tiger taunt should never ever be confused with tiger taint.

  31. Loose lips sink ships.

  32. Baked, I also live in Florida. Were these people from Massachusets or New York? Has to be one or the other.

  33. Too bad there’s no such thing as tard repellent.

    There is. Alligator attacks.

  34. The tiger = Happy Fun Ball.

    Neither should be taunted.

  35. Tom T.
    In 9th grade biology I performed experiments on frogs and adrenaline. Guess what? That hormone works with animals other than humans. Sheesh.

  36. I don’t give a damn if the tiger was superman on steroids. Make the cage so that the tiger can’t fly out after changing out of his business suit in a phone booth. If the cage doesn’t hold the animal at its most pissed off, the design is faulty. Ultimately, Tom T. is entirely correct that a kindergarten class could have set that tiger off.

  37. “If the tiger was capable of leaping the wall in response to some taunting jerks, then it was capable of leaping the wall in response to a noisy kindergarten class.”

    Perhaps its escape was aided by the dangling of drunk’s feet…

  38. “Perhaps its escape was aided by the dangling of drunk’s feet…”

    Then the fence should have been 3 feet higher.

  39. “Then the fence should have been 3 feet higher.”

    Utter bullshit.

  40. The phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ comes to mind.

  41. Yeah, building cages that actually hold the animals is utter bullshit. Why not make a day at the zoo more like a death lottery?

  42. We’ll call it San Francisco Zoo Roulette.

  43. Cast the brothers into the den of the tigers; if they be righteous then may their god preserve them.

    …Or however the fuck Daniel goes. Stupid Bible, so boring.

  44. Fuck that natural habitat bullshit- put the animals in good, old-fashioned CAGES! Then we can poke sticks through the bars to our hearts’ content.

  45. The city zoo in Boise used to have a huge male bengal tiger in a chain link enclosure. The only thing between the walk path and the cat was that 1 piece of chain link supported by 3 inch steel pipe. you could stick your fingers in and pet him. that was in 97. he died soon after that and I havent been back. Zoos are depressing to me as I get older.

  46. Kinda like the border fence…

  47. BUMP!
    BUMP-BUMP-BUMP!
    BUMP-BUMP-BUUUUUMMMM!

    Risin’up,
    Back on my fee-et …

    GLENN!
    GLENN-GLENN-GLENN!
    GLENN-GLENN-GLENNNNNNNNN!

    Glenn’s the man
    Goin’ to work
    He’s got a tie
    got ambition

    Middle management
    is right in his grasp
    It’s a dream he will
    ne-ver let diiiiieeee!

  48. No amount of taunting should make it OK that a freakin’ tiger escaped. Rule #1 in Zookeeping: The animals probably shouldn’t be able to escape.

    Hear Hear.

    And what Tom T. said as well.

    What kind of nonsense is this “well they taunted the tiger” crap. So what?

    This is merely a “look over there” measure to try and shift blame.

    Even if they taunted the shit out of the tiger, the tiger should not have been able to escape, and the zoo is entirely at fault.

    I have witnessed a number of people taunting animals at the zoo. In particular the fling shitting monkeys and the red-assed baboons.

    I have also seen some animals at zoos that get agitated by flash photography or the mere presence of onlookers. Some animals just don’t like people and captivity or any combination of the sort.

    Are you trying to tell me the zoo only has an obligation to make sure agitated animals can’t get free?

  49. Washington Park Zoo in Portland Or. has the dry moats and tall walls on the exhibits for the big cats and bears. I always worried a bit about the cats being able to jump the gap. Ive seen my house cat jump 6 feet straight up to catch a bird on the feeder and he is about 6 lbs.

  50. Correction:

    Are you trying to tell me the zoo only has an obligation to make sure un-agitated animals can’t get free?

  51. Yeah, building cages that actually hold the animals is utter bullshit. Why not make a day at the zoo more like a death lottery?

    Used to have cages like that. Those were the good old days.

  52. Actually, Binky was in Anchorage, not Fairbanks.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binky_(Polar_bear)

    Taunting a tiger is not a reason to get mauled by a tiger, getting mauled by a tiger you’ve taunted is not a reason to get gazillions of dollars, either.

  53. Sorry Lamar, I can’t agree. I think the animal needs a fighting chance. I think it unlikely that a “noisy kindergarten class” would provoke an attack the way drunk taunting teenagers do. If that were to happen, well that’s what law suits are for. I think the zoo’s liability could be minimized simply by posting a sign at the gate:
    WARNING: BIG CAT MAY GET BUG UP IT’S ASS AND KILL YOU

  54. “WARNING: BIG CAT MAY GET BUG UP IT’S ASS AND KILL YOU”

    Then point his finger up in the air and say, “they’re Greeeeeeat!!”

  55. “Taunting a tiger is not a reason to get mauled by a tiger, getting mauled by a tiger you’ve taunted is not a reason to get gazillions of dollars, either.”

    But having a tiger get out of its pen is a very good reason to penalize the hell out of the zoo.

  56. For a libertarian website, all this talk of cages…

  57. I found this video of the brothers giving an extremely brief account of the attack.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBGIQ7ZuuiU

  58. Why not make a day at the zoo more like a death lottery?

    Would certainly make a trip to the zoo much more exciting…

    If the tiger was capable of leaping the wall in response to some taunting jerks, then it was capable of leaping the wall in response to a noisy kindergarten class.

    Well, I bet those kids that survived would learn a valuable lesson about proper behavior and respect for Mother Nature. Interactive, hands-on learning is always better than pictures in a book. Plus, next time one of the brats started acting up all the teacher would have to say is, “now Tommy, you saw what happened to Billy when he wouldn’t do as he was told… do you really want me to let the tiger out again?”

  59. WARNING: BIG CAT MAY GET BUG UP IT’S ASS AND KILL YOU

    Well, it fulfills the “aberrant apostrophe” requirement for such signs.

  60. I CAN HAZ LIEBILTEE PRETEKSHUN?

  61. The tigers hate us for our freedom, because we give our females rights, because of our free market in zebra meat. It has nothing to do with taunting!

    I was there on 12/25, I don’t ever want to see an attack like that happen again!

    I believe what the WWF teaches us about blowback. The way we should look at this is, how would we feel if the tigers were doing it to us? How would we feel if a tiger came up to our window and dangled its paw just inside? We’d be furious, and rightly so, so why should we be surprised when the tigers are?

  62. Without looking at even the TINIEST details of this incident, I am quite comfortable in saying the following:

    1) If the person was fully in the cage — that is, had climbed the fence, passed through a gate, jumped down, or in some manner deliberately bypassed the “cage” portion and got eaten by a tiger — totally his fault. Tiger was safely contained.

    2) If the tiger was NOT in it’s cage, but in fact out of it, then it is the Zoo’s fault.

    If it’s some weird case, I base it entirely on whether the eaten person in some way abetted the tiger’s escape — like opened a gate, bent the bars, or smuggled in a tiger-launching catapult.

  63. Anyone remember the Sambos restaurants? They used to tell the story of Little Sambo and how he chased the tiger until it became butter. Perhaps that’s what the brothers were trying to do…but they were spread too thin…ha.

  64. Chicago Tom, Tom T. –

    Let’s reframe the discussion. It’s not the zoo, it’s your yard. It’s not a tiger, it’s your dog, Mullethead. Two drunk punks start tormenting Mullethead, who has never breached your yard enclosure. In fact, no dog has ever breached your yard security. Mullethead, who has never tried to attack other pedestrians, gets out of the yard. Dogs do that from time to time, even with conscientious owners like yourselves. Mullethead then proceeds to giving theses punk ass youths what they most assuredly deserve. A ripped achilles tendon results, ending the promising hockey career of aforementioned drunk punk tormentor.

    Just give the animnal abusing reprobate title to your home, right?

  65. Going back to my 1L torts class, the zoo is gonna have to pay up regardless of whether idiots were taunting the tiger. The taunting of a tiger by idiots is reasonably foreseeable, which is precisely why the fence needed to be higher. The zoo will not be able to get off by arguing that what the victims caused the calamity because it is the actions of such idiots that makes the zoos failure to build a high fence negligent.

  66. I’ll concede that these guys were acting like morons. But it’s not as though they jumped into the habitat. It’s not really fair to compare it to cases where people get up close and personal with wild animals on purpose. They expected that it was safe to piss off the tiger since the tiger was in an enclosure and they were standing outside of it. By the logic of some people, anyone who goes to a zoo should expect they might get eaten….even if I don’t taunt the tigers, if someone else does it might get out and kill me.

    I think it’s reasonable to expect that deadly carnivores can’t get out of their enclosures at the zoo. If they can get out when they are really pissed, well isn’t that especially when you don’t want them to get out? Tiger pens should be pissed-off-tiger proof, end of story.

    Oh and the chimpanzee case someone mentioned. That wasn’t in SF. I believe it was in Riverside, and it wasn’t a rich guy who paid to play with chimps. It was a guy who actually had a pet chimp. Eventually he couldn’t care for it anymore and donated it to a nature preserve. He was there visiting his chimp when some other chimps attacked him.

  67. Audio, identified as the teenagers in question, picked up by a nearby tourist’s video camera from the zoo:

    Paul: No, kitty kitty, that’s mah pot pie. No! That’s a bad kitty kitty.

    Kulbir: Hey, Paul, what do we do if that tiger gets out?

    Paul: Well duh Kulbir, we run, you ‘tard. Now I see why mom and dad gave you the dumb name.

    Kulbir: You really think you can outrun a tiger, Paul? (sound similar to that hand slapping head) Hey that hurt you butt-licker!

    Paul: I don’t have to outrun a tiger, Kulbir, I just have to outrun you.

    Kulbir: Uh… (several seconds elapse) oh! Hey! Wait a minute… um, maybe we should find someone we can both outrun…

    Paul: Hey Carlos, come here, you gotta see this tiger!

  68. im in ur vieween area eatin ur visitors

  69. Why not make a day at the zoo more like a death lottery?

    “They do say,” Mr. Adams said to Old Man Warner, who stood next to him, “that over in the north village they’re talking of giving up the zoo.”

    Old Man Warner snorted. “Pack of crazy fools,” he said. “Listening to the young folks, nothing’s good enough for them. Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live that way for a while. Used to be a saying about ‘Visit the zoo in June, corn be heavy soon.’ First thing you know, we’d all be eating stewed chickweed and acorns. There’s always been a zoo,” he added petulantly. “Bad enough to see young Joe Summers up there joking with everybody.”

    “Some places have already quit zoos.” Mrs. Adams said.

    “Nothing but trouble in that,” Old Man Warner said stoutly. “Pack of young fools.”

  70. Like I said, call me for jury duty in this lawsuit. Please.

  71. “No amount of taunting should make it OK that a freakin’ tiger escaped. Rule #1 in Zookeeping: The animals probably shouldn’t be able to escape.”

    I’m glad someone said it. When I heard this news story, I just thought … “holy crap.” then they start talking about the guys taunting the tigers … LIKE THAT’S EVEN FUCKING RELEVANT!!! As if to say, “Well, it’s a tragic story, and we pray for those involved, but they only brought it on themselves.”

    By the way, the Tigers don’t hate us because we’re free, they hate us because of our interventionist foreign policy.

  72. im in ur vieween area eatin ur visitors

    Too funny! Someone so needs to do a “loltigers” bit on this!

  73. Just give the animnal abusing reprobate title to your home, right?

    In your example, nothing changes. I am liable. I should be liable.

    Just because the dog in question doesn’t have a history of attack or escape, and just because the dog may have been provoked, doesn’t make me any less responsible for my dogs actions or the securing of my dog. *I* have a responsibility to make sure my dog is restrained regardless of how I would expect other to act around my dog. I have an obligation to make sure that my dog can not escape regardless of how excited he may get.

    If no one came onto my property and the dog got free, chances are the dog, regardless of provocation, would be put to sleep by the local powers that be.

    And if I happen to charge admission to my property for people to look at my confined dog, and one of them does something that provokes the dog, I am still liable.

    If my dog got agitated at the sound of loud music, and a neighbor was blasting his radio on his porch — should I not be liable of the dog gets loose and attacks him? Apparently, in your world, I shouldn’t be. Because my neighbor brought it on or something?

    People taunt animals. It happens all the time. I used to taunt my neighbors dogs all the time. That doesn’t mean that those keeping the animals get to be negligent and not have to worry about making sure the animal, even in an excited state, can’t get free.

    They are animals, and anything could potentially set them off.

  74. What needs to be kept in mind here is that there really isn’t a whole lot of knowledge out there about the physical limits of tigers under provocation.

    It isn’t like it’s been tested rigorously.

    Just about all modern “open air” zoo caging is based on the anecdotal experience of zoo handlers, “legends” of animal capabilities, and guesswork. They will surely now raise the fencing on this exhibit four feet, but that won’t guarantee that some really pissed off tiger won’t jump that shit too at some point in the future. Zoo animals routinely exceed handler expectations for both physical ability and intelligence.

    So in a very real sense, the tiger was in fact like the Incredible Hulk, because it’s entirely possible that under provocation we saw a behavior from the tiger that we previously did not know it was capable of. I bet if you taunt an orangutan long enough, it will suddenly figure out enough metallurgy to make a key to get out of its cage and fuck you up.

  75. 1. There is talk that one of the hosers facilitated the escape of the Tiger by lowering something down in the pen. So in essence, he turned the whole zoo into a pen, and so you could say that he was in the pen.

    2. How many people died in the SF commute that morning? Why is this so important? I’d rather die in the jaws of a tiger than get hit by some ditsy driver on a cellie.

    3. Why are you people such humanists? That Tiger was being a Tiger, and it seems that those humans were not being very humane.

  76. I have an obligation to make sure that my dog can not escape regardless of how excited he may get.

    That’s not true. There are lots of areas where there aren’t even any leash laws. You’re under no legal obligation in those areas to restrain your dog from leaving your property, and under those conditions the history of the animal and your actions in provoking its attack would absolutely be relevant to my liability for your injuries.

  77. ChicagoTom, I don’t believe you’d plead that in court. Not for a minute.

  78. Didn’t they say the attack happened in the cafeteria? Couldn’t someone have just thrown the cat a couple cheeseburgers? Seems that would have distracted him long enough to run away or at least order some chili-dogs.

  79. “I have an obligation to make sure that my dog can not escape regardless of how excited he may get.”

    What if some no-brain retard lets your vivious dog off his leash…?

  80. I regularly mock animal rights supporters. I support testing eye makeup on bunnies. I am gladdened that these punks got their asses handed to them by a tiger.

  81. This column seems to take for granted this idea that animals are somehow subject to logic; We’ll, the Tiger must’ve been “provoked”, which is total nonsense, of course. The vast majority of animal attacks do not involve any kind of provocation.
    It’s absolutely the Zoos’ responsibility to indsure the safety of its visitors.Period.

  82. Hey Rusty Trombone, how’d you get that name? Is your real name Dirty Sanchez?

  83. I bet if you taunt an orangutan long enough, it will suddenly figure out enough metallurgy to make a key to get out of its cage and fuck you up.

    Probably, but by that time it will have already typed up the collected works of Shakespeare, so it’s a win-win.

  84. Prove negligence by the zoo to me and I, as a juror, will determine appropriate damages. Absent proof of negligence, tough titty, reprobates.

  85. Interesting that the tiger could have jumped that wall any time that it was there, which I understand is years. It was only when it was taunted that it finally was motivated to jump.

    Might be a lesson there in human motivation, too.

  86. Rusty,

    You can’t feed a tiger. It has to hunt.

  87. Chicago Tom,

    I’ll let you keep your homestead too.

  88. What if some no-brain retard lets your vivious dog off his leash…?

    Then he’s at fault. If the dead guy had gone over and opened the tiger cage, it’d have been HIS fault.

    Although the Zoo probably still has SOME liability for having a cage a yahoo can open.

    If the man had jumped into the tiger pen, he’d certainly be at fault. Since it appears the tiger got OUT of the pen, the zoo is at fault.

  89. I heard that the Tiger was seen with Barry Bonds before the attack…. ‘Roid rage perhaps?

  90. From the articles I read when this first occurred, there are standards for how high tiger enclosure walls are supposed to be, which the zoo falsely claimed to have met. They were aware of how high a wall needs to be to keep people safe from tigers and did not build their walls that high. Somehow, they passed inspection like this, but its hard to claim that they took reasonable precautions to prevent tiger escape.

  91. So from now on, they’ll have to have the Tigers in cages that no yahoo can open; and enclosures from which the Tigers cannot escape, even if someone throws them a 50-ft. ladder…

    Where does personal responsibility come in? We always want to blame someone. Maybe they should have posted a sign, “If you facilitate the Tiger’s escape from the enclosure, it will eat you.” Then you’ll have to sign a waiver… DUH!

  92. Seems like a pretty simple case of comparative negligence: the zoo was negligent in designing containment for the tiger, but the maulees were negligent in taunting the tiger, and their recovery should be reduced accordingly. Considering the tiger hadn’t escaped in the past, the maulees appear to have engaged in awfully negligent behavior if it was taunted to the point of escape, and thus recovery ought to be low.

    Of course, keeping a dangerous animal may fall under strict liability, so a group of absolute jackasses taunting a 600-pound killing machine can get a windfall. Yay for personal responsibility.

  93. Isn’t it kind of against the law for EMTs to divulge incriminating things the patient said to them?
    Yes, it certainly is.

  94. Darwin wins again.

  95. The single greatest example of negligence I have heard so far is the way that, for the first few days after the attack, the zoo informed the public that the wall was 18 feet high — well above the 16 foot recommendation from the AZA.

    Then one day the zoo announces that the wall is actually 12.5 feet high. The media locked onto this as, “Zoo wall shorter than accepted standards.” They should have locked onto it as, “Zoo doesn’t know how high its wall is.”

    They didn’t even know it was below standards, much less make a considered decision that it was acceptable that way.

    I heard that news and said, “Eight figures. Seven for the survivors.”

  96. Wall height for containing dangerous animals: There are recommendations, and there are minima. The height at the SF Zoo was below the recommended height… but what was the acceptable minimum height? Maybe it’s just “Don’t let the Tiger escape” height. Does anyone know what is the actual rule on the height, not just the recommended height?

  97. burning tiger teeth

    long sharp gleaming glistening

    ow my fucking neck

  98. By the way, the Tigers don’t hate us because we’re free, they hate us because of our interventionist foreign policy.

    Same difference. What good is freedom if you can’t use it?

  99. look ma no kitty

    you’ll find her at the snack bar

    tiger out to lunch

  100. “By the way, the Tigers don’t hate us because we’re free, they hate us because of our interventionist foreign policy.”

    Maybe they’d understand our foreign policy if they drove a big fuel-gulping Dodge truck and gave in to the general materialistic societal standards. I think they are too smart for that – to drive a Dodge I mean.

  101. This is all I knew tigers were capable of until last month.

  102. This is all I knew tigers were capable of until last month.

    Alas, today’s youth. Tigers are also capable of this.

  103. Well, the AZA has no power to create or enforce standards for wall height or anything else.

    If I declare myself the American Tiger Association and proclaim that the minimum wall height is 1000 meters, it means exactly jack and shit.

    And I believe that the reason there’s some ambiguity about the height of the wall is because it abuts a dry moat. If you measure from the bottom of the moat, you get one height. If you measure from the main part of the enclosure, you get another height.

  104. The tiger has the mind of a fucking tiger, you cannot set standards of it’s social interactions with humans, especially in court. It must be the absolute and total legal responsibility for the zoo to contain it’s animals, and it’s failure must be an automatic liability.

  105. Maybe they were just PETA supporters trying to set the poor tiger free.

  106. I’m sorry a perfectly good tiger was wasted on these bozos. I wish she could have finished the job before she was killed for just being a tiger, doing what tigers do. People are stupid for expecting anything different.

    /I always cheer for bears being able to open up campers and houses and getting away with it. I’m sad when they are killed.

    /I am always more concerned about cougars when there are reported sightings than the dumbass humans being dumbasses and getting killed by cougars.

    Hooray wild animals!

    Boo stupid humans!

    Smart humans do not taunt the wild animals or act like prey.

  107. The Tiger never escaped in the past but it did rip the flesh off of a zoo employee’s arm a year ago, so there was some history of this particular tiger being a problem. Add to that the fact that the wall was below accepted standards and that they probably won’t be able to prove the brothers were taunting the tiger and I think the Zoo will be paying a pretty large settlement.

  108. Well, the AZA has no power to create or enforce standards for wall height or anything else.

    That is why I thought the media was misguided to point out that the wall was too short by the conventional standard instead of pointing out that the zoo didn’t even know how tall it was.

    And I believe that the reason there’s some ambiguity about the height of the wall is because it abuts a dry moat. If you measure from the bottom of the moat, you get one height. If you measure from the main part of the enclosure, you get another height.

    Unless you know something the Chronicle doesn’t, you believe wrong.

  109. According to the Wikipedidia:

    In the wild, tigers can leap as high as 5 m (16 ft) and as far as 9-10 m (30-33 ft), making them one of the highest-jumping mammals (just slightly behind cougars in jumping ability).[citation needed]

    Well, now we have a citation available for the entry “In captivity, tigers can leap as high as high as 12.5 feet.”

  110. I just got here and haven’t had time to read the whole thread yet, but just in case no one said it already:

    “Ire of the Tiger” = Best H&R Headline of 2008!

  111. A human can only jump 7’4″. But humans are crafty. That’s why you keep a few million of them behind 30′ electrified, barbed wire fences.

  112. Man, this is even stupider than Mr. Sullum’s corporatist entries usually are:

    1. Drinking and roaring (if that is all that occurred) should not be enough to defeat zoo liability, or to characterize compensation as a “windfall” here. It is also understandable that the brothers would want to remain silent about this until they consulted counsel.

    2. The zoo would not believe the brothers that a tiger attack had happened. The brothers claim that it took one half hour of trying to convince two zoo employees (or contractors) that an attack had occurred. This while one of the brothers was bleeding. We haven’t really heard from the zoo about this, but: (i) the 911 call by the zoo employee indicates that he did not believe an attack had occurred; and (ii) by not allowing the injured brothers into a secure building a second attack occurred on the brothers; and (iii) by not allowing the brothers into a secure building the tiger had to be killed rather than tranquilized.

    3. Mr. Sullum points out that the brothers did not talk. Why does he not point out that the zoo security guard did not talk? Why does he not point out that the zoo cafe employee has not talked? Does Mr. Sullum believe that corporations should be forced to talk immediately or face a presumption of guilt? Even if we were to ignore the fact that it would be legally unwise for the brothers to talk about the legal case while still unrepresented, bleeding and probably sedated under any circumstances, it is understandable that the brothers would be mad as hell if they couldn’t convince a zoo employee to let them in a building and prevent their 2d mauling.

    4. Sullum ignores widespread rumours that were spread in the week following the case, which have now been disclaimed. The first was that there was blood in the cage (many media sources). The second was that the brothers had slingshots (NY Post, repeated without criticism in many media sources). Where did these rumours come from? Since these tantalizing tidbits have been discarded, it seems that we should be pretty wary about jumping on the new generation of zoo-favourable rumours.

    5. Sullum needs to go. Not just this article — he is wandering into dumbness more and more as time goes by. He lets his Rolodex show too often. I wonder if Justin Raimondo is available to take his place?

    6. No word on whether Mr. Gillespie ate the tiger.

    7. I am open to the possibility that the brothers did do some “comparative fault” actions here. Either large comparative fault stuff like letting the tiger out, or mild comparative fault stuff, like climbing on the outside of the wall, or throwing pinecones into the cage. drinking and roaring ain’t gonna cut it here however.

  113. Dave, bud. Read the post again.

  114. Sorry, Jacob, clean out your desk. I don’t know who you pissed off, but whoever it was, he’s big.

  115. Okay. Done. What’s your point?

  116. Dave hates the zoo because they only serve Coke and Pepsi in the cafeteria and there are no sugar based soft drinks available. Dave, I heard that when the tiger broke into the cafeteria he said “I KAN HAZ BOYLAN?”, but all the people heard was “ROOOAAAARRR”.

  117. I heard that when the tiger broke into the cafeteria

    No. The zoo employee was safe inside the cafeteria. The brothers were outside begging to come in bcs a tiger was on the loose. The zoo employee would not let them in. Eventually, aftr some time passed, the tiger wandered by and began to maul the brothers again while the zoo cafe employee watched, secure in the cafe.

    Sullum wants to know why we* haven’t gotten the full story out of the brothers. He is not at all curious about why we haven’t gotten the full story out of the skeptical cafe worker who watched from his safe vantage point in the cafe. It is this selective curiosity that betrays Sullum’s biases here and makes him unworthy of Reason magazine.

    For my own part, I don’t think the brothers or the zoo have a moral, ethical or legal duty to talk (until subpoena’d), but if you are going to criticize one sides silence here, it is the zoo’s silence that seems less understandable.

    FOOTNOTE:
    * Sullum says that the brothers have not given a full story to police. I am not sure that is true. So far as I am aware the police interviews have not been made public.

  118. Settle down folks. If a tiger mauls you in the zoo, do not, I repeat, DO NOT talk to the media, cops, zoo workers, or insurance reps without consulting with a lawyer. Despite the assertions of some in the media (ahem), silence does not equal guilt of some kind, nor does it mean that you have something to hide. It means you’re not stupid.

  119. And, Epi, don’t forget that they substituted the Karo Syrup with pure, clear pepsi, resulting in hilarity and mirth all around.

    Hay jerk (yoooo know whoooo), Calvin and Hobbes is missing a punchline. Return there, pls.

    Jeez. You really are in need of instruction, you dumb fuq.

  120. “They will surely now raise the fencing on this exhibit four feet, but that won’t guarantee that some really pissed off tiger won’t jump that shit too at some point in the future.”

    Many years ago, I saw a tiger on National Geographic that was so fast and powerful, he literally ran on water for about 20-30 yards in order to catch a water bird. It was the most fucking amazing thing I have ever seen!

  121. You really are in need of instruction, you dumb fuq.

    VemSter, if you keep up like this I will begin to think that you took the filter down again. Tsk, tsk!

  122. “but that won’t guarantee that some really pissed off tiger won’t jump that shit too at some point in the future”

    Which is why the fences have an extension at the top that curls backwards into the enclosure. Many also have electric wire and spikes. Don’t make this out to be a slippery slope of some kind. That fence was substandard.

  123. “but that won’t guarantee that some really pissed off tiger won’t jump that shit too at some point in the future”

    Which is why the fences have an extension at the top that curls backwards into the enclosure. Many also have electric wire and spikes. Don’t make this out to be a slippery slope of some kind. That fence was substandard.

    Actually, it is the known dangerousness and unpredictability of tigers that make this a strict liability situation (albeit with “comparative fault” contribution in most states). Because it is a strict liability situation, the height of the fence isn’t even relevant, except perhaps as a way to mitigate any comparative fault that might otherwise be found.

    Of course, here all the comparative fault we know about thus far is rumour & innuendo so the fence isn’t yet relevant. There would be liability with a million foot high fence.

  124. Lamar is right.
    Substandard fence = liable…SF zoo fucked up.

    But…
    Albuquerque Zoo had Cheetahs escape their enclosure when it did meet the standards.

    Sometimes it is hard to predict whether your design will work in all circumstances.

    I am mainly concerned, if Dave W.’s facts are correct, that the zoo did not have a better response to an escaped animal.

    Tigers eat bears in the wild.
    Their containment needs to be taken very seriously.

  125. The family of the dead friend should be awarded any an all gains that the taunting idiots get from the zoo.

  126. @Neu Mejican

    What, you don’t think that the dead teen’s estate will be suing everyone, zoo and taunting idiots included?

  127. I should clarify: the fence being substandard is not relevant to strict liability. I said before, I don’t care if the tiger all of the sudden turns into superman and flies out of the enclosure, the zoo is still liable. The zoo has to keep people and animals separated. That is slightly different than saying the zoo has to keep the animals in their enclosures.

    The substandard fence just makes it all the worse. The reason I brought that up was to counter some of those who think no guarantees can ever be made. The truth is that zoos should build their fences well in excess of the standards. The fact that this particular fence was substandard is just bizarre.

  128. The part that disturbs me is the inferences that people are drawing against the “taunters.” We rely on juries to find facts and not to lightly assume facts not in evidence. Not just here, but in other internet discussion of this case, it seems that people are willing to assume “taunting” because someone saw roaring and there was an empty vodka bottle in a vehicle. What kind of a basis is that?!?!?!

    Then there are things like the slingshot article in the NY Post. Why would the Post publish such a rumour (which seems to have been thoroughly discarded by now)? Under what innocent circumstances could such an inflammatory false rumour end up in the paper. The likeliest inference is that someone from the zoo told them this. I mean, would the Post accept this kind of info from an anonymous caller? It had to be the zoo or the police. And it doesn’t seem like the police. Moreover, if the zoo did plant this rumour, why would they plant it if they knew it would be rejected by the police? Can you imagine a set or circumstances where the zoo thought that this rumour would be accepted by the police?

    This is just speculation. However, it is just as plausible as the speculation about the “taunting” and it is much more disturbing.

    Whom from the zoo has Mr. Sullum spoken with, I wonder.

  129. Other facts emerge.
    The shoe of on of the boys was found inside the enclosure. The speculation is that the tiger made a leap for the wall, grabbed the kids leg and pulled himself out of the enclosure.
    That would make the guys guilty of facilitating the escape.
    These animals do not randomly go to the lengths to escape their enclosures. They are maintained as well fed and are not a danger unless some fool tries to provoke them or get into their territory.

  130. FUCKING TIGER!!!!!

  131. If that is the case, and the hosers facilitated their escape, it’s just like unlocking the doors to their cages. Of course, the zoo will still be held liable because their enclosure was not idiot-proof; however, the hosers might be held partially liable for their friend’s death, as they put him in harm’s way.

  132. Where’s the love for the poor tiger? She was the victim of taunting and she tried to stop it in the only way a tiger can, by trying to eviscerate her taunters. I hope the taunters get a tiger sized dose of cat scratch fever.

  133. “The zoo would not believe the brothers that a tiger attack had happened. The brothers claim that it took one half hour of trying to convince two zoo employees (or contractors) that an attack had occurred.”

    Wow, she was a killer. If the tiger wanted to kill these two bozos she would have, she had plenty of time. She just wanted to be left alone. She gave them the tiger equivalent of, “BACK OFF!”. These guys asked for every scratch and bite they received and they deserve absolutely no compensation.

  134. Don’t make this out to be a slippery slope of some kind..

    Wasn’t the fundamental problem that the slope from the enclosure was not slippery enough?

  135. it seems that people are willing to assume “taunting” because someone saw roaring and there was an empty vodka bottle in a vehicle. What kind of a basis is that?!?!?!

    Because many, including myself, were once asshole teenagers that occasionally got drunk?

  136. I might have been a crazy teenager who got drunk, but I was not stupid enough to become a nominee for the Darwin award. Maybe because I got lucky…

  137. Because many, including myself, were once asshole teenagers that occasionally got drunk?

    did you taunt tigers when drunk to the point where they were going crazy trying to get out of their cage?

    If not, then doesn’t that mean the brothers would tend to be innocent based on your experience?

  138. RE: “Pepe | January 7, 2008, 8:42pm | #” – ding, ding, ding … we have a winner! Add to that, SFPD detained for several minutes at South Gate, meanwhile zoo personnel attempt to “calm down” tiger (instead of blasting its brains out). They “knew” when the tiger nearly resulted in arm amputation of the trainer, they they would have to put it down, but they failed. There has been an ugly calculus at work folks. Namely, the SF Zoo valued Sasha more than it values you. Think about it. You pay to go there a few times. Sasha brought thousands of customers. Add to that, the fact that although some of the more extreme animal rights people hate zoos, these days, you will find a fair number of people who value animals more than humans working in the zoo biz. And that’s a fact Jack. Heads must roll including criminal justice. Starting at the top.

  139. Three friends get high and go to zoo,
    they decide to screw with the big kitties,
    big kitty gets pissed and gets out of kitty enclosure. I imagine that was quite a rush. I always disliked people that picked on animals, but usually they pick on little animals. It’s true the zoo should have made sure the kitty couldn’t get out, but when she did, she didn’t go after any kindergarten kids. That must have really killed the buzz. Bet they don’t screw with big kitties any more. Also, the tiger got shot for being a tiger.

  140. If my pit escapes from my yard and bites you, the law tells me I must put him down because he is a bad seed. And yet, the tiger bitch almost tears off a zoo keeper’s arm (Google it, it happened Dec 22, 2006) and nothing happens. This bad seed is left in deficient enclosure waiting for her day. The day arrived, ironically same time of year as last incident. Getting dark, many biped primates with their backs turned, walking away as it’s closing time. Dusk, hunting time. Bad seed. Jump, grab branch with one paw, other paws snagging cracks in moat wall. Throat. Bite.

    The management knew this could happen. When it finally did, they told no one, told injured brothers they were crazy. Delayed cops who were coming with hollow points, because they wanted to keep their money maker going. A few customers killed? Oh well. That’s how it goes.

    Arrest the bastards, starting at the top. The charge is murder.

  141. still have not given a complete account of the attack

    but when she did, she didn’t go after any kindergarten kids

    Look, either there are witness to the tiger roaming around the zoo or there aren’t. Since we haven’t heard from them yet (thru lawyers or otherwise), I would assume that there really aren’t. No kindergartners were passed as the tiger slowly made its way from its breached enclosure to the cafe, 300 yards away. However, if there are witnesses to the tigers journey across the zoo after all somehow, we need to disbelieve them under the Jakey Sullum dumblogic(tm) where if you don’t give a full account right away then it means you are lying.

  142. This is probably a little late, but it is called contributory negligence. It can change the distribution of the settlement amount. If the brothers are seen as contributing 20% then the settlement will be reduced. I do not think the zoo is trying to get out of paying. It knows it will pay. I think it is trying to reduce the amount it will pay and rightfully so. Too many people no longer have to be responsible for their behavior, and as a society I think we have had enough.

    Case in point an old friend of mine got locked in her 3rd floor bathroom – she knew the door knob was not working correctly, and never told the landlord! She had some sort of panic attack and decided to exit through the window because she didn’t think three stories was that high. She shattered both ankles, had compound fractures, and broke her back. It took her six months to recover. She did sue the landlord because somehow the landlord should have know about the door knob I guess. In the settlement however her landfall was cut in half because of her own contributory negligence. (I don’t think she should have gotten a dime!)

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