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Nancy Grace

San Francisco Cops Investigate Deadly Zoo Tiger Escape

Aired December 26, 2007 - 20:00   ET


JEAN CASAREZ, GUEST HOST: Tonight: Mayhem and terror at the San Francisco Zoo. A 300-pound Siberian tiger escapes from its enclosure on Christmas Day and goes on a rampage, fatally mauling one young man, leaving two in serious condition. How did this tiger named Tatiana get loose, and why did it have a chance to do so much destruction before finally being shot dead? Now, keep this in mind. This is the very same tiger chewed off a part of a zookeeper`s arm almost to the day one year ago. Where did the system go wrong, and who is responsible?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When police arrived, they found the first victim dead just outside the tiger enclosure. A paramedic says his throat had been slashed. Then 300 feet away, outside of the Terrace Cafe, a second victim was sitting upright on the ground...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... with what appeared to be blood on his face, and there was a tiger sitting right next to him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four officers with their handguns drawn approached the tiger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tiger jumped back on top of the victim. The officers moved in closer. Shortly after, the tiger turned his attention and started to attack one of the officers. That`s when the officers shot at the tiger, killing the tiger.


CASAREZ: Good evening, everybody. I`m Jean Casarez of Court TV, in for Nancy Grace tonight. Let`s get right to our top story, carnage at the San Francisco Zoo.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Zoo personnel at a total loss to explain how that 350-pound Siberian tiger escaped its enclosure and then attacked three people here at the zoo. That enclosure is surrounded by a 15-foot moat and a 20-foot wall, in fact, one zoo official telling us that there`s no door it could have gone through, that it literally would have had to leap over its own exhibit. This happened just after 5:00 PM, an hour before closing time.

The tiger first attacked a man right outside of the enclosure. He was killed on the spot. It then went about 300 yards to the outdoor cafe here at the zoo and attacked two more people, those men also around 20 years old. When police arrived here at the scene, the tiger was still in attack mode. It was about to continue attacking one of those two additional victims. Four officers took out their weapons. The tiger then made an aggressive approach toward those officers, and that`s when the officers fired on the tiger, killing the animal right there on the spot.


CASAREZ: Let us go straight out to CNN correspondent Ted Rowlands, who is at the San Francisco Zoo tonight. Ted, what`s the latest?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jean, they`re still calling this a crime scene. The zoo was closed today and investigators were out all day, looking for any physical evidence that they can find to try to determine exactly what happened here.

There are two theories or two different possibilities. Either this tiger somehow got out of its enclosure on its own, or somebody let this tiger out, either intentionally or unintentionally. And they`re not ruling out either one of those possibilities, so they`re moving forward to get as much evidence as possible in case one of the others comes to fruition sooner than later. If, indeed, somebody is responsible here, they want to have all of the physical evidence that they can during this period of time, the first 24 hours obviously very important. So they did that today, scouring the areas that were affected. They closed the zoo down.

Tomorrow, they do plan on opening up the zoo. They`ve been talking to witnesses, as well, including the two victims. And I`m sure investigators now have a more clear picture than they did at this time yesterday, but they have not come out and released exactly how this tiger got out, and it`s not clear that they know how this tiger was able to get out of its enclosure.

CASAREZ: And that is the big question, and I think probably police that came out this afternoon designating this as a crime scene concluded their sentence, saying it was because they did not know how the tiger escaped. Ted, is there any evidence at all that there was any surveillance video anywhere on the property or a cell phone camera that could have caught some of this, at least, on tape?

ROWLANDS: There`s no surveillance videotape system at the zoo itself. They are asking the public, anybody who happened to be at the zoo -- the problem is, it was closing time, Christmas Day, 5:00 o`clock. There weren`t a lot of people at the zoo, but they`re hoping that they can either get some eyewitnesses to come forward, more eyewitnesses, or the best-case scenario, obviously, if somebody has something on tape to give them more information as to how this tiger could get out.

As you might imagine, they`ve closed this exhibit indefinitely before they -- until they can come up with concrete answers. There were five tigers in the exhibit at the time. Only one, Tatiana, was able to get out, and they are just shaking their heads as to how this 350-pound tiger was able to escape the confines of this exhibit.

CASAREZ: Exactly. Let`s go to a very special guest tonight. You know him well. We all do. It is Jack Hanna, renowned expert on wild animals, the host of his own show, "Jack Hanna`s Into the Wild." Mr. Hanna, thank you so much for joining us. How powerful is a 300-pound Siberian tiger?

JACK HANNA, DIR. EMERITUS, COLUMBUS ZOO: Well, obviously, they`re powerful animals, whether it be in a zoological situation or in the wild. I`ve seen them in the wild take down a 2,000-pound water buffalo in less than 30 seconds. It`s like an explosion going off. Now, that`s an animal, obviously, that`s hungry, looking for food.

In this situation, these animals are obviously fed every day. About 95 percent of our animals in zoos come from other zoos. They don`t come from the wild. So this animal has been fed every day, so it`s a very puzzling -- I mean, I`ve done this for 41 years, and I must say that in my 41 years, there`s never been a zoo visitor killed in a zoo. And so you have several billions of visitors we`ve had over the last 40 years in zoos in this country, so you can see it`s a real safe place to go.

Now, what happened at the San Francisco Zoo -- which is a great zoo, by the way -- is confusing to me, from the standpoint that I don`t think a tiger could sit in the bottom of a moat and jump up 20 feet. That`s my personal opinion. Now, could a wild tiger maybe clear that moat if it was starving and wanted to get something and was running? Maybe. But a tiger of this stature being there at the zoo, probably born in another zoo or born at that zoo, it`s just very puzzling to me how the tiger would have gotten out.

Plus, the -- and by the way, I`m very sorry for the family, as well as the zoo employees. I want to make that clear. It`s just a hard time for everyone concerned. But I`m still confused on how the one gentleman that passed away was in front of the enclosure, and then all of a sudden, 100 yards away, the two other guys were. You see, it doesn`t -- how would that tiger know to go after those two guys in a certain area 100 yards away? Just the whole thing is very, very confusing, and I can see now why the police are -- might be calling it a crime scene. It`s a confusing issue.

CASAREZ: Well, you know, Mr. Hanna, if you`re confused in all of this, can you imagine the novice? I want to ask you one more question, though. When you think about a wild tiger -- let`s tell everybody -- the first victim, police are saying, was right outside of the lion`s (SIC) cage. The other two victims that actually survived, are still in the hospital, that was 300 yards away. So quite a distance.

Why wouldn`t the tiger, Mr. Hanna, stay with that first victim? Wouldn`t it continue to try to devour it? Why would it move on three football fields away?

HANNA: See, I didn`t realize it -- now -- now, that`s a new one to me. I didn`t know it was 300 yards. Why wouldn`t the other victims, being that far away, have called somebody on a cell phone or something, saying what had happened to their buddy, the first one, correct?

CASAREZ: Exactly.

HANNA: I mean, this whole thing is absolutely mind-boggling to me. And I`ve had a lot of things happen -- usually, when someone in a zoo -- or there is an animal accident in a zoo, usually it`s a cut-and-dried situation. It`s either this or that, it`s not something like this that is under investigation from the standpoint of, How did this animal get out? It`s just -- it`s something that I guess time will tell.

But again, these are wild animals and these animals are capable of doing a lot, and that`s what we teach people when they work in a zoo. You know, I`ve seen a lot of things happen in my 40 years, and not necessarily in zoos but in the wild and that type of thing. But zoos are a safe place. The American Zoo and Aquarium Association, they accredit all these zoos. It`s a strict accreditation on what the enclosures are like, what the safety procedures are.

And by the way, real quickly, someone said -- you know, I`ve been asked this twice tonight, Well, why did they shoot the tiger? Well, you`ve got to understand something. There are split-second decisions being made by the officers or the zoo staff. In other words, when you have a human being there whose life is threatened, there can only be one decision, and that`s to take the animal out. Do you see what I mean? It`s not something you can sit there and say, Hey, let`s tranquilize it. It`d be great to tranquilize it, if you had the time to do that, but those tranquilizers may take five minutes, they may take 15 minutes. And you don`t have that kind of time when human life is involved.

And no one appreciates and loves tigers more than Jack Hanna. But when it comes to a human life or -- I asked the person who asked me this question, I said, If your 8-year-old child was there, what would you do? That`s a good question.

CASAREZ: Well, let`s go into that more because we`ve got with us John Ramey, editor of KNX radio 1070 Los Angeles. Can you explain for our viewers, when police and EMS officials first arrived on the scene, and firefighters, they first saw the victim that was already deceased, correct? And then they went on and they found what? Explain that to all of us.

JOHN RAMEY, KNX 1070: Well, they actually found the tiger mauling the second and third victims. They didn`t see the third victim. They only saw the second victim. After the first victim had been mauled and later died, police apparently distracted the cat with noises and also the flashing lights of the responding vehicles, and that apparently distracted the cat enough to draw it towards the officers. And at that point is when they shot and killed the tiger. So it was only later they found a third victim. And again, the two victims that survived were by the cafe. The initial victim that died was right there by the grotto.

CASAREZ: Right. Exactly. Let`s go to the lawyers. This is a crime scene right now, and that could mean a lot. First of all, Holly Hughes, former prosecutor out of the Atlanta jurisdiction, thank you for joining us. And Alan Ripka, defense attorney out of New York.

Alan Ripka, let me ask you, do you think that we are going to find ourselves in a criminal court of law, in a civil court of law, or is this just an accident?

ALAN RIPKA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, no matter what, you`ll find yourself in a civil court of law because the people who were hurt and the families may sue for negligence, meaning that claiming that the zoo had the duty to make sure that the zoo was safe and it was not. Now, if they learn that someone opened up a gate and intentionally did this, then the zoo would not be responsible civilly unless the people can show that they should have had people watching for these doors or that these doors should have been locked tightly.

CASAREZ: All right. Great point. Holly Hughes, what are investigators going to look for, or if this lands in the hands of the district attorney`s office, what are they going to be looking for to see if there is any criminal responsibility here?

HOLLY HUGHES, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Hi, Jean. It`s nice to see you, as well. What they`re going to be looking for is any of those videos you were talking about earlier, if there was a visitor to the zoo who had a videocamera running, anything that might be stationary in the zoo itself. The need to see if, in fact, this was an intentional act. And possibly someone could then be charged with voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter, if, in fact, they released that tiger. So the video is going to be the most important thing that they`re seeking to find.

Other than that, Jean, they`re going to have to go there into that actual tiger habitat and see, are there claw marks? Is there any evidence whatsoever that that tiger was able to scale that wall after she got across that moat? They`re going to be looking for anything that will tell them how she got out.

CASAREZ: What about witness testimony? Because if someone intentionally opened the door and someone saw that, that`s one thing. If someone happened to leave it open, that could be reckless behavior. Define that for our viewers, recklessly, on a criminal level.

HUGHES: Well, what you`re talking about there is the difference between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. If it`s voluntary manslaughter, you purposely did an act that then resulted in a death, which you might not have planned. Reckless is going to be a lesser charge -- you just recklessly, you forgot, you were negligent, it was accidental. But however, that did result in a death. And then you`re going to be charged with something lesser like an involuntary manslaughter, Jean. That would be the legal difference.

CASAREZ: Exactly. Pat Brown, criminal profiler, let`s go to you. The investigation is happening right now at that crime scene. It`s been designated a crime scene. What would you be looking for, if you were right there?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, Jean, one thing I wouldn`t be too worried about is what happened after the tiger got out of the enclosure. Even though it is kind of odd, you know, he got this one man, and then he went off 300, you know, yards and got two others, really, quite frankly, once you`ve got an animal running around wild, anything can happen. And nobody`s problem planning -- or the tiger`s not planning some big, huge, spectacular scene here, he`s just doing what a wild tiger will do.

So I`d be worried about how the -- simply how the tiger got out. So yes, we would check to see whether there`s any information inside the enclosure, like was said before about claw marks or any kind of disturbance on the moat that would show that that tiger actually went over the moat, through the moat and then over the wall. Also bringing out (ph) evidence outside. (INAUDIBLE) principle says, You take something into the crime scene, you take it out. So is there evidence coming over that wall, down to where that first man been was attacked?

And then, of course, they`re going to look at that enclosure itself. Did somebody leave the gate open? Was it feeding time? Was it something that was supposed to be part of a normal routine? Or is this nobody should have been there at all, and yet the only way that cat could have gotten out was through that gate. That tiger walked out through that opening that somebody maybe purposely opened. They`re going to check back on the records of the employees. Is anybody out to get somebody at the zoo? Is somebody angry, kind of like going postal, except in this case...


BROWN: ... in a zoo. And that`s what they`re going look at, on purpose or not on purpose?

CASAREZ: And you know, we want to remind everyone -- we said this at the top of the show -- but this is not the first time that this tiger attacked someone, this is the second time. A year ago almost to the day, that tiger attacked its feeder, almost actually taking the entire right arm off the feeder. Now, that was determined to be because the bars of the cage were so wide that the tiger could come out. Now, there was an OSHA investigation from the state of California. It was deemed that they were in violation of preventary measures that they should have taken. They were actually fined $18,000. Now this.

Let`s go to Sheba in Illinois. Sheba, I think -- Linda from Florida. I know you`ve been holding, Linda. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it`s not really a question. I totally, you know, feel for these families and the victims. However, you know, these are wild animals, and it all goes back to, you know, the zookeepers that insist on caging these animals and feeling that -- you know, this animal is not extinct, as far as I know, and I`m all for trying to save those animals, but just like the elephants that attacked their zookeepers - - I mean, their circus keepers, these are animals, and caging them for the sake of someone gawking at them, you know, these things are going to happen. And it is a shame that they could not have just stunned him or tranquilized him...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... because he was just being a cat. And I do feel for it, and I think the investigation needs to go on, but I think we all have to be more, you know, in tune with the fact that these are animals.

CASAREZ: Jack Hanna, great question. This is a cat that is encaged, has been for a while. Is that right? Should it stay in the wild?

HANNA: No, first off, let`s use -- the word "cage" is not the right word to use here. These animals -- most all zoos that are accredited by the American Zoo Association have magnificent habitats. We try and create them. We just finished one in Columbus for almost $14 million for -- money was spent on a Siberian tiger, magnificent structure, ponds, lakes and trees and acreage, everything.

Now, in the San Francisco Zoo, it`s not a cage. These animals, 95 percent of our animals are born in other zoos. We don`t just take them and pluck them out of the wild. As far as leaving them in the wild, over the last -- by the way, over the last 10 years, not just tens of millions, hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised by zoos throughout this country to help animals in the wild.

Now, I`ve been very fortunate to go to the wild, but that`s only about 1 percent of the population of this country gets to go to different countries...

CASAREZ: All right...

HANNA: ... of the world and see these animals in the wild.

CASAREZ: You know, we appreciate your...

HANNA: So how are we going to save these animals unless we have zoological parks...

CASAREZ: Great point.

HANNA: ... that teach us what these animals are? Now, one last thing, too...

CASAREZ: Great point. And right after the break, we`re going to have more with Jack Hanna.

To tonight`s "Case Alert," the desperate search for a 24-year-old Illinois woman who vanished on Christmas Eve, it continues today with divers and helicopters flying over. Her call to a friend after work on Monday was the last time anyone heard from Anu Salonki. According to a family friend, her Honda Civic was found in a wooded area with doors unlocked and her purse and laptop missing. If you have any information, please call the Cook County Forest Preserve Police, 708-771-1001.

And tonight, check out the latest message from Nancy about the twins. And coming soon, video of the twins that will debut right there on the baby blog. That`s at And remember to mark your calendars. Nancy is back January 7, 8:00 o`clock sharp, as Nancy would say. Be sure to join us right here on Headline News.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A shocking end to Christmas Day at the zoo. A Siberian tiger broke loose and attacked, killing one man and critically wounding two others. Police say the tiger somehow escaped from its cage just after the zoo had closed. It had already killed one man and was mauling another near the zoo`s cafe when police arrived. When the tiger lunged towards them, they shot it dead. And it`s not the first time that this tiger has showed its killer instinct.


CASAREZ: And Welcome back. I`m Jean Casarez of Court TV, filling in tonight for Nancy Grace. Who killed this tiger? Why did they do it? And why did victims have to die? We have with us a world-renowned expert on wildlife habitat, Jack Hanna with us once again. Thank you so much for correcting us, first of all, that this tiger was not caged but it was in habitat at the zoo.

But I want to ask you -- and you were surprised at this when we just mentioned it a few minutes ago -- about the first victim -- the distance between the first victim and the second and third victims was 300 yards. That is the length of three football fields. Remember, this zoo was 125 acres. Mr. Hanna, could that second and third victim have been dragged that whole way, or did that tiger run that distance to find those subsequent victims, and why?

HANNA: Well, again, if the first victim was down there, the one that was killed next to the habitat, and the other guys ran, the tiger couldn`t probably -- I mean, I`m sure they ran around trees and bushes and ran out of the tiger`s view. And obviously, there were probably other people in the zoo. Why the tiger would go that far, I just can`t get over this, to find out where those victims were. Now, someone used the word "taunting" in several interviews today with me. You know, of course, the tigers used to, in a zoo, of people going back and forth, that kind of thing, and they usually don`t pay much attention.

But how much taunting was involved? Were some of these people taunting the animal? I don`t know the answer to that question.

The other thing is, you mentioned about the tiger hurting the lady`s arm a year or so ago. I`m not sure of the exact time. If I was the zoo director -- and I hope you understand where I`m coming from on this -- that was probably human error that happened there. I would definitely -- I wouldn`t do anything with the tiger. In other words, when there`s human error involved and the tiger`s just doing what`s natural, if someone`s feeding the animal, which was happening, and it`s my understanding, and it bites the arm, then that`s not that the tiger`s sitting there trying to be a man-eater at all. The tiger just bit the arm and mauled the arm, and that`s what happens. So, you know, therefore, I don`t think that incident has anything to do with the incidents, for example, that happened yesterday.

It`s like if you`re -- in Glacier, for example. If you`re hiking Glacier, where I am right now, a national park up in Montana, in the summer or whatever, and a grizzly were to happen to kill someone in Glacier, let`s say -- and that has happened once or twice, not very often (INAUDIBLE) very rarely. But if that happens, they have to take that bear out because that bear -- with humans, you know, relates the two together, it`s not because it`s a man-eater.

In India, where we have quite a few deaths from tigers because they`re -- you know, they`re meat eaters -- when that happens, that tiger has to be taken out. But in a situation like this, there was no -- these officers had no time. They had to do what they did and they did a good job. And the question is, as you just said, how did...


CASAREZ: I`m Jean Casarez of Court TV, in for Nancy Grace tonight. Out to Jack Hanna. With all of your experience, and it is immense, have you ever personally seen a Siberian tiger or an animal of that strength and dimensions jump a 15 to 20-foot moat and then jump an 18-foot fence?

HANNA: The answer is no. No, I haven`t. I`m not saying it can`t be done, I`m saying I can`t imagine it. After all my 40-something years of doing this and being in the zoo world, helping design enclosures and that type of thing, that would be a phenomenal feat. Of course, athletes every year surprise us, however -- a wild animal maybe moreso. I mean, this is a wild animal, but I`m talking about in the wild, an animal looking for food. But this one, it`s puzzling.

CASAREZ: All right. Thanks, Jack. We`ll be right back with more.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the San Francisco Zoo, Christmas Day, a Siberian Tiger managed to get loose and attack three visitors, killing one man. It happened at the Terrace Cafe, an eatery inside the zoo. Police arrived to find one man mauled and the tiger, named Tatiana, had a second man cornered.

As police moved in, the tiger pounced again, and an officer fired. Paramedics were unable to save one of the three victims. Doctors expect the other men, ages 19 and 23, will make a complete recovery. Three other tigers share the enclosure Tatiana escaped from, but only she escaped and it`s still unclear how she did it.

Nearly a year ago to the day, Tatiana attacked a zoo employee inside the pen. The trainer lost her arm; the zoo was later found liable for the attack.


CASAREZ: Welcome back. I`m Jean Casarez of Court TV, filling in for Nancy Grace tonight. A tiger got loose. It killed one. It severely injured two. Let`s go straight out to Ted Rowlands, correspondent for CNN. Ted, this tiger traveled quite a ways between the first victim, who is deceased, and the second two victims, who survived. Do we know if there were any security guards, zoo personnel at all along the tiger`s route that saw the tiger?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We don`t know specifically who saw what, but we do know police are interviewing a number of people and a lot of that leg work was done today. You got to keep in minds, when this happened, there was chaos, because the initial report was that tigers had escaped their cages. So when San Francisco Police showed up and zoo employees were on the lookout for possible multiple targets, it was already getting dark. It was 5:00 out here on the West Coast and the zoo was closing.

So the amount of people -- what they could see and what they couldn`t see is very -- would be very difficult to determine. They didn`t interview very many people at all yesterday because they were searching first for tigers. Then when they determined it was just one target, they were searching for potential victims. They didn`t know how long this tiger had been out there. So, all last night until midnight, they were doing searches, using fire department flood lights and heat seeking helicopters, looking for potential victims that may have been injured, because they didn`t know.

The zoo was still open and there was a tiger on the loose. Nobody knew much of anything. At about 9:00 today, they did a morning search and by 9:00 today they had determined there were no more victims. That`s when they started the investigation.

So all day today is the time period that they have been interviewing these people, and I would assume someone has come forward with some very good information for the investigators, including the two victims that are still alive at San Francisco General Hospital. I`m sure they have a much clearer picture at this hour than they did at the beginning of the day. However, they have not come out with any new statements and no new updates as to how this tiger got out.

Where they are in their investigation, I would assume they have a very clear path by now of where this is going.

CASAREZ: What we do know now is late this afternoon, they designated the zoo a crime scene. Let`s go out to the callers, Sheva in Illinois. Hi Sheva. What is you`re question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is -- actually, it`s kind of a two parter -- but my question is, since this animal had done this once before, attacked someone, why couldn`t a special habitat be made for it? I`m like Jack Hannah; I have all the sympathy in the world for these animals. I grew up watching Jack Hannah on TV. But, you know, they just -- it`s a wild animal and I have seen people crawl over fences to get closer to them. That`s stupidity on the people not on that animal.

CASAREZ: Well, Sheva, we all love watching Jack Hannah on television. Let`s ask Mr. Jack Hannah, who is still with us; since this same tiger bit and was vicious one year ago -- it was December 22 of 2006; so almost one year to the date -- should there have been some precautions taken so this tiger would remain alone or behind a couple of habitats and not have something like this able to happen?

HANNAH: You`ve got to remember, from what reports I have heard -- I don`t know the exact details of a year ago. I was just stating earlier that -- for the lady that just called in, that that was a human error accident. A lot of animals are fed pills in food -- as you saw, OSHHA fined the Zoo; they changed their procedures.

But trust me, to me, that had nothing to do with what happened yesterday. That was an accident that happened at the zoo, probably human error, and everybody paid the price for that. This tiger did not remember, by any mean, eating an arm of a person, or chewing an arm, whatever happened, a year ago. What happened yesterday, to me -- this is a person who has been doing this for quite a while -- that had nothing to do with what happened yesterday.

CASAREZ: Different situation. Good point. Let`s talk about the victims in all of this. We know one is decreased, two are still in the hospital. Let`s go out to Dr. Cynthia Shelby-Lane. She is an emergency physician. Doctor, can you tell us when you would receive a victim of a vicious animal attack, what is the first thing you do when they get to the ER?

DR. CYNTHIA SELBY-LANE, EMERGENCY MEDICAL PHYSICIAN: The first thing that happens when you receive a victim who has been mauled or had any sort of trauma would be to assess them for airway breathing and circulation. That`s the main thing you want to do with any sort of victims who have been hurt in some sort of major trauma. And this would have required that same sort of situation, especially knowing that someone had died at the scene from the mauling. You would want to assess the other victims for the similar problems.

CASAREZ: Back out to Ted Rowlands, CNN correspondent. Ted, do we know where the victims were attacked by this tiger, what parts of their body?

ROWLANDS: Yes, we do. There was a press conference today at the hospital, and they didn`t want to go into too many details for privacy issues. But according to one of the doctors that was interviewed on the local radio, they suffered severe lacerations to the head and neck area, a lot of cuts from claws and also bite marks too. And both the victims are expected to make recoveries. However, both are in very serious condition. They`re very stable, but they`re serious.

What the doctor said today, the main concern at this point is infection. So they are being treated at the hospital and they are expected to stay there for several days, just because there is that chance of infection which they are very leery about. But they do have a good prognosis.

CASAREZ: And the second most important concern, doctors said, was their mental state. Let`s go to Lillian Glass, psychologist and author of "I Know What You`re Thinking." Lilian, when someone is beginning to be attacked by a vicious animal like a tiger, what goes through their mind? Do they realize they are being attacked? Does their mind go into shock at that moment?

LILIAN GLASS, AUTHOR, "I KNOW WHAT YOU`RE THINKING": Yes, they go into shock, complete shock. And that`s what you have seen here. It`s been reported by the hospital that these boys are no good spirits. They`re doing well. But in reality the shock is still happening. And they`ll undergo a lot of the same things that happen when a person dies -- they have to deal with a person who`s died. They go through a lot of the grief stages, and they`ll be going through denial; they`ll be going through a lot of the stages, anger. And they may suffer from Post Traumatic Shock Treatment -- or excuse me, Post Traumatic Shock Disorder for a long time to come.

And nobody`s won here, because also the people who work with the animals, they`re grieving as well, because they have become very attached to this tiger. So nobody`s won here psychologically.

CASAREZ: You`re exactly right. Let`s go back out to the attorneys, Holly Hughes, former prosecutor from the Atlanta jurisdiction, Alan Ripka, defense attorney. I did a little bit of legal research today -- as an attorney, got to do that -- and I found a California Supreme Court case from 1909 -- forget the day date, it`s still good law. And, believe it or not, it`s out of the San Francisco jurisdiction at a zoo. And it was a camel. And a camel attacked a brand new zoo feeder; as the camel was being fed, he camel took the leg of the zoo feeder, started swinging the body in the air and the leg had to be amputated.

This was a civil case, but the California Supreme Court said that it is the duty of one who owns or keeps animals known to be vicious to guard them in such a manner as will absolutely the prevent the occurrence of an injury to others through such vicious acts as they are naturally inclined to do. I smell a lawsuit. Let`s go out to Alan Ripka.

Alan, this is going to end up in a court somewhere. We don`t know where yet, but we can almost say civil court is going to be a prognosis here? Right?

RIPKA: Of course. In this particular case, certainly a tiger is vicious, so you get past the first prong. What the zoo is going to say in their defense is, we did everything we could. We used all the safety standards. The experts will say that they used all the safety standards. And there`s no way we could have ever foresaw a tiger escaping from this particular safe habitat.

CASAREZ: All right, Alan Ripka; and if Jack Hannah is confused on all this, where does that leave the rest of us? More on the San Francisco Zoo tiger attack when we come back. But first check out the latest message from Nancy about the twins. And coming soon video of the twins will be on the baby blog. That is at

And remember to mark your calendars because Nancy`s back January 7th, 8:00 sharp Eastern time. Be sure to join us right here on Headline News.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police units responded to the area by the Terrace Cafe, where they saw a tiger sitting next to a person who was on the ground. The tiger turned back and began to attack that person again. Officers yelled at the tiger, yelled at the animal to stop. When the yelling was occurring, the animal turned and now turned towards the officers.

And it is at that time that they fired and dispatched the animal.


CASAREZ: I`m Jean Casarez of Court TV, filling in tonight for Nancy Grace. Let`s go straight out to John Ramey, editor of KNX radio, 1070 in Los Angeles. John, tell us about this tiger. How old was the tiger? Where did it come from? Was it born at a zoo?

JOHN RAMEY, EDITOR KNX RADIO: Well, it was a transfer from the Denver Zoo to the San Francisco Zoo with the express purpose of finding a mate. There are only 600 of these Siberian tigers in captivity. I know that Mr. Hannah raised the point earlier that perhaps a wild tiger, hungry, searching for food, might be able to leap a greater distance than anticipated.

But certainly Tatiana, the four year old Siberian tiger, was accustomed to captivity and a human-built habitat.

CASAREZ: OK, let`s go out to Diana Guerrero, out of Big Bear Lake, California, animal behaviorist. We have learned that the tiger came from the Denver Zoo. So it looks like it was born in a zoo. Is the behavior of that tiger going to be any different from a tiger that was raised as a part of the actual wild?

DIANA GUERRERO, ANIMAL BEHAVIORAL SPECIALIST: Yes, it is. Captive wildlife is very different from wildlife that`s born and lives in the wild. Their territories are different. In captivity, animals become habituated to people. The animal was raised in a zoo; chances are it`s imprinted, so it relates to people like it relates to others of it`s own kind, and doesn`t have the same restraint. So you`re going to see some differences there.

The important thing here is with this tiger, once it`s out of the territory, you`re going to add adrenaline to the predator and you get a deadly mix. It`s going to be on hyper drive, just very afraid of what`s going to happen to it out there, retaliate, not necessarily hunting, but protecting itself.

CASAREZ: Let me ask you this, if a tiger is raised in the habitat of a zoo, as this one it appears was, is it`s muscle mass going to be different from a tiger that`s a part of the wild? And here`s where I`m going; would its muscle mass be able to jump over a 15 to 18-foot high moat and then an 18-foot high fence to get out in the zoo, around the people?

GUERRERO: That`s a good question. We don`t know the answer. More likely it would be that there was something that happened in the enclosure that enabled the cat to get out, maybe an exhibit design flaw. I know they finished some renovations on the exhibit recently. It could have been human error. It could have been equipment failure. We don`t know the answer to that yet.

Tigers have the strength of about 13 men, to give you an idea. So captive born, they might not have the physique of an animal in the wild, but they certainly don`t loses their strength. And the pounds of pressure on their jaws is about 900 pounds, to give you an idea.

CASAREZ: Wow, let`s go back out to the attorneys. Holly Hughes, former prosecutor, I just cannot get past the fact of the foreseeability aspect in all this. I understand what Jack Hannah is saying -- and he is the expert -- that last year the lion (sic) clawed through the cage that was too wide. The metal barriers were too wide, so the claws get out.

This is a totally different situation, the lion -- tiger is out of the cage. But my question to you is, that foreseeability that the zoo -- that employees at the zoo knew this tiger had violent tendencies and had demonstrated vicious tendencies; will that make it more difficult for the defense in a court of law?

HUGHES: I got to tell you, I don`t think so, Jean, because we all know that tigers are wild animals. That is by nature what they do. Mr. Hannah is exactly right. That incident last year, the zoo keeper actually reached her hand into the tiger`s cage under the gutter, to pick up something that had fallen into a cage, during a public feeding, Jean. This is a point in time when the tiger is being fed and the public is watching.

So he sees something coming into his cage, he thinks, hey, that`s mine; I can have a snack. Totally different situation. After they were fined 18,000 dollars, because she shouldn`t have been able to get her hand under that gutter, they then spent, I believe, it`s about 250,000 dollars to bring that habitat up to code, as it were, to make it safe. I think that they have done everything they can.

What you`re going to look for is an expert like Mr. Hannah, who will say, hey, this is industry standard, 20-foot high walls, and 15 foot moats. They did everything they could. It was not foreseeable that this tiger -- what is she, the bionic tiger? How are they supposed to know that?

Unless you`re talking about negligence and an open door, I really don`t see how the zoo could have foreseen her scaling a 20-foot wall.

CASAREZ: Alan Ripka, agree or disagree? I know your defense, but how do you feel?

RIPKA: I agree with it. Unless they can show that the zoo should have been watching out for locked doors, or should have had someone supervising the facility on more of a constant basis, they could be responsible and negligent for that as well.

CASAREZ: Sheva in Illinois, Linda in Arizona, we have a caller.

I guess we do not have a caller. Linda in Arizona; are you there, Linda?


CASAREZ: What is your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to know if the 17-year-old teenager that was killed knew the two brothers that were killed? Was he there with them? Or was he just there by himself?

CASAREZ: That is a great question. John Ramey, editor of KNX radio 1070 in Los Angeles, what is the answer?

RAMEY: They all knew each other. They`re all from San Jose. But it`s not clear exactly what their affiliation was. The two victims are brothers, and the victim that died did know the other two. But we don`t know exactly what their affiliation was.


CASAREZ: And I`m Jean Casarez of Court TV, filling in tonight for Nancy Grace. We do want to remind you that two victims of this vicious tiger attack have survived. They`re in stable condition. They`re still in the hospital. They`re actually brothers, ages 19 and 23. Out to Jack Hannah, what about the tiger that police did shoot; would they be doing tests on that tiger right now?

HANNAH: I imagine they would be, as far as that`s concerned. But also, remember that what I`m concerned about also is what happens at 5:00 when this zoo closes? Usually, you know that the tigers are being put up for the night or the tigers are being fed for the night. Animals have routines and keeper knows that. It would be interesting to know what this tiger is usually doing at this time of day.

Plus, one last thing -- I know we`re running out of time here -- the fact that -- my condolences to everyone involved -- but also, the zoos around this country have sent not just millions, tens of millions of dollars to the Asian countries, Siberia and other countries, to preserve this animal in the wild, and I think people need to know that. They just think that these animals are there for us to look at. But you don`t know the amount of moneys raised for preservation of these creatures in the wild.

That`s what we all want to see, by the way. That`s the bottom line. I want to make that very clear. Tens of millions of dollars have been sent there, thanks to zoological parks.

CASAREZ: Through tragic situations like this lessons are learned. What would you say, at this point in the investigation, is the lesson to be learned?

HANNAH: It`s a hard thing to say, because I don`t know what really happened. But the lesson to be learned is that the tiger is a magnificent creature. It has power beyond belief. That power is magnificent to watch in a zoological park, and just let people know that these are animals for professionals, and not to have as pets or anything else. Of course, I`ve seen things happen where that happened. I think a good lesson to learn here is to admire this animal and hope we`ll have it around for a long time, while in the wild, as well as in zoological parks.

CASAREZ: All right, Jack Hannah. Thank you so much to all of our guests.

Tonight, let`s stop to remember Army Private Nathan Thacker. He was 18 years old, of Green Bryer, Arkansas. He was killed in Iraq when an explosive device detonated near his vehicle. His father said Thacker had been in Iraq only two weeks before his death. When he enlisted, Thacker said it was his duty to serve in Iraq. He is survived by his parents, his grandfather and six siblings.

Nathan Thacker, an American hero.

I`m Jean Casarez of Court TV, in for Nancy Grace. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 Eastern. Good night, everybody.