January 18, 2008

I can’t believe it

Posted in Current Events tagged , , at 8:27 am by sonofthed

I’m so surprised.


Police: Tiger attack victim was drinking, admitted taunting

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) — One of the three victims of a San Francisco Zoo tiger attack was intoxicated and admitted to yelling and waving at the animal while standing atop the railing of the big cat enclosure, police say in court documents.

Paul Dhaliwal, 19, told the father of Carlos Sousa Jr., 17, who was killed, that the three yelled and waved at the tiger but insisted they never threw anything into its pen to provoke the cat, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained Thursday by the San Francisco Chronicle.

“As a result of this investigation, (police believe) that the tiger may have been taunted/agitated by its eventual victims,” according to Inspector Valerie Matthews, who prepared the affidavit. Police believe that “this factor contributed to the tiger escaping from its enclosure and attacking its victims,” she said.

Sousa’s father, Carlos Sousa Sr., said Dhaliwal told him the three stood on a 3-foot-tall metal railing a few feet from the edge of the tiger moat. “When they got down they heard a noise in the bushes, and the tiger was jumping out of the bushes on him (Paul Dhaliwal),” the documents said.

Police found a partial shoe print that matched Paul Dhaliwal’s on top of the railing, Matthews said in the documents.

The papers said Paul Dhaliwal told Sousa that no one was dangling his legs over the enclosure. Authorities believe the tiger leaped or climbed out of the enclosure, which had a wall 4 feet shorter than the recommended minimum.

The affidavit also cites multiple reports of a group of young men taunting animals at the zoo, the Chronicle reported.

Mark Geragos, an attorney for the Dhaliwal brothers, did not immediately return a call late Thursday by The Associated Press for comment. He has repeatedly said they did not taunt the tiger.

Calls to Sousa and Michael Cardoza, an attorney for the Sousa family, also weren’t returned.

Toxicology results for Dhaliwal showed that his blood alcohol level was 0.16 — twice the legal limit for driving, according to the affidavit. His 24-year-old brother Kulbir Dhaliwal and Sousa also had alcohol in their blood but within the legal limit, Matthews wrote.

All three also had marijuana in their systems, Matthews said. Kulbir Dhaliwal told police that the three had smoked pot and each had “a couple shots of vodka” before leaving San Jose for the zoo on Christmas Day the affidavit said.

Police found a small amount of marijuana in Kulbir Dhaliwal’s 2002 BMW, which the victims rode to the zoo, as well as a partially filled bottle of vodka, according to court documents.

Investigators also recovered messages and images from the cell phones, but apparently nothing incriminating in connection with the tiger attack, the Chronicle reported.

Sam Singer, a spokesman for the zoo, said he had not seen the documents but believed the victims did taunt the animal, even though they claim they hadn’t.

“Those brothers painted a completely different picture to the public and the press,” Singer said. “Now it’s starting to come out that what they said is not true.”


  1. John said,

    WHY DOES IT MATTER?? So they broke the law, and they should be punished for that. That doesn’t make it right that they were attacked by a tiger at a public zoo! Public safety should be the number one priority of these institutions. So these young adults where acting like spoiled 4 year olds – if REAL spoiled 4 year olds had done the same thing and been mauled or killed, this would be a far different story. Its really disturbing that the zoo is deciding that trying to blame the victims is a better way out than admitting that their facilities were not adequate to control a deadly animal. Animal attacks should not happen at zoo’s, regardless of how much inappropriate taunting an animal receives.

  2. Luanne said,

    I hope you’re kidding about being surprised. I knew the minute news broke of the tiger attack that those boys taunted her. A cat of any size that’s fed regularly wouldn’t jump a fence to capture food, so that was never an issue. That poor tiger was killed for behaving on instinct: attacking something it thought was threatening. The Darwin Award should be split among all three of those *&^$ idiots for being drunk, cruel, and stupid enough to taunt a wild animal that has been trapped in civilian society for its whole life. I’m sorry for the family that their kid died, but I have no sympathy for any of those boys. It’s hard to think they didn’t get what they deserved. The incident is senseless in all respects.

  3. Wilds101 said,

    I wonder if when they built the enclosure they told zoo officials, “okay, you’re all set. Just understand that if anyone taunts any of the tigers, all bets are off.” Or if when they got Tatiana they were told of specific words or hand gestures that she found particularly offensive and might send her over the inadequate enclosure. I happen to know a tiger that is just the sweetest thing, but if you moon her, she will eat you.

  4. Lori said,

    I hope these so-called ‘victims’ are punished for what they did. A beautiful tiger has been killed, all because she was defending herself. I say the other two should be fed to the other cats, piece by piece. Maybe next time someone will think twice before taunting a wild animal.

  5. The Fin Man said,

    People continue to amaze me. This group is a nomination for the Darwin Awards. How can anyone believe in intellegent design? More to the point is that the focus on the drugs and alcohol appears to be the cause and yet many of my friends and I have done many of the same processes and activities without any such idiotic behavior (around a tiger or other such dangers) or resulting consequencs. My recreational use is for enjoyment and relaxation. Strong physical activities such as saiing, skiing, surfing, cycling, have all been safely accomplished by many of use without incident. While having suffered from being under the influence, I’m still convinced, my clumsyness has always been a part of my life long before I found alterd states, with alcohol being the most dangerous. As discussed with my physician today, many kids today do take serious the division of drinking and driving my generation abused and have known of fatalities from such.

  6. The water bearer said,

    I feel bad that there has been a tradgic loss of life. But so goes the story that these young “MEN” who made the choice to induldge in Alchohol and Marijuana, then go Taunt and Threaten, an instinctive survivalist that outweighs them by hundreds of pounds. That only has 2 real reasons for killing. Food and Self defense. Who’s only crime was being caged. Well lets just say, the BULLIES got hit back. The survivors need to accept the ass whoopin they got and call it good. the Zoo does not have a sign that says it is ok to taunt the animals. the family of the deceist needs to grieve and go on. those boys started and lost the fight. DEAL WITH IT

  7. osurfbabe said,

    I hate to admit that a couple of the comments made me laugh uncontrollably. My thought: Which is worse a child, say 2 or 3, throwing a fit, or a loaded teenager. Would we be having any kind of discussion if it had killed a toddler?
    This is a no-brainer. The zoo has MAJOR liability. If these children had been the sons of a wealth family, we would be renaming the zoo. Fuck that tiger, he should have been exterminated or reintroduce into the wild after its first mauling.

  8. heather said,

    people are stupid?

  9. Betty said,

    Was this tragedy the result of a one-time incident of “Tiger-baiting” or had there been a series or a pattern that the victim (the tigress) remembered?

    Did the perpetrators have a past history of animal abuse?

    Maybe they started with domestic kittens.

  10. lllllllllllllll said,

    I agree with John (10:07:29).

    There is no excuse for ANYone being attacked by a tiger under any circumstances. This is so heinous and anyone who says these teens deserved it should have their heads examined. The zoo is at fault for not meeting the safety code. This means that every visitor was at risk for years! They should cose this place since a zoo keeper was also mauled. In fact, all zoos should be closed because they are not safe, and no animal should be in a cage except criminals!

  11. JT said,

    When their lawyer said, “No matter what the boys were doing, the issue was public safety”, this raises a question. Were the boys behaving what a reasonable person should? If they were taunting the tigers earlier when there were more people inside the zoo, what could have happen? Just imagine, police & the paramedics not able to come to the rescue fearing for their safety as well.

    This also raises another question, whether prior to attact did tatiana or other tigers (or lions) attempted to get out of theirs cages before this event?

    I think this should be an eye opener for everybody. Don’t do blame game, I think the zoo people aims for public safety but they need everybodies cooperation. For those boys who have better things to do if only they behaved well, then there should have not been anybody getting killed or hurt even the animals.

  12. megan said,

    geez. gives a whole new meaning for your title of this post.

  13. Allen said,

    They always find a way to blame the victim. I think the intention of putting an animal in a cage is to keep it there, ya know? If it didn’t get out then, it would have at some other point.

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