Police Logs Detail Chaotic Response to Escaped Tiger

Skeptical first report slowed response
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2007 10:30 AM CST
Tatiana, a female Siberian tiger that killed one person and injured two others, is seen in the lion house at the San Francisco Zoo in this Sept. 6, 2007, file photo. (AP Photo/San Francisco Chronicle,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The first chaotic hour after an escaped tiger at the San Francisco Zoo killed a 17-year-old man on Christmas is revealed in riveting detail in the transcript of the police log released by authorities yesterday. The report shows that zoo employees first thought the injured man who reported the escaped Siberian tiger was crazy, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, perhaps slowing the urgency of the police response.

The first 911 call, from a cafeteria worker who reported seeing a "very agitated" man outside the cafe, which was locked, screaming that he'd been bitten by a tiger. A second dispatcher's report said "Zoo personnel dispatch now say there are two males who the zoo thinks ... are 800 [code for mentally disturbed] and making something up ... but one is in fact bleeding from the back of the head." Police and fire crews were also stopped at the gate for several minutes by zoo security in lock-down mode, the report shows.