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San Francisco denies blame in zoo's tiger mauling

July 1, 2008 |  8:04 am


San Francisco officials said Monday that the city is not liable for the death of a San Jose teenager who was attacked by an escaped tiger on Christmas Day at the San Francisco Zoo, the Associated Press reports.

The city instead referred a claim filed by the parents of 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr. to the San Francisco Zoological Society, which manages the zoo, and to the society's insurance company, according to a letter issued by City Atty. Dennis Herrera.

Herrera responded in a similar fashion in May to claims filed by brothers Kulbir and Paul Dhaliwal, two friends of Sousa who were mauled by the tiger, Tatiana, pictured above. The city's denial now opens the door for the Sousa family to file a lawsuit within six months, according to state law.

The family's lawyer, Michael Cardoza, said the Sousas plan to sue the city and the zoo operators, but would not say how much money they would seek.

Just this week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the San Francisco Zoo is "in such disarray that officials have decided not to look for a new zoo director until they can get things in order," a problem brought to light after the tiger attack incited intense scrutiny in the institution's management.

-- Francisco Vara-Orta

Photo: Penni Gladstone/San Francisco Chronicle

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