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Law professor says San Francisco Zoo liable for death of teenager from tiger attack


Posted on Jan 14, 2008

The law regards keeping a caged tiger in the same manner it does hauling dynamite or storing uranium. The activity is so dangerous, that no matter how cautious the proprietor is, they are still responsible for any personal injuries received by bystanders. That is the rule that will apply to personal injury lawsuits stemming from the Christmas Day incident involving a tiger at the San Francisco Zoo escaping its outdoor grotto, killing a 17-year-old San Jose, California boy, and injuring two of his friends. According to John Diamond, a professor at UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, the admission of the zoo director that the moat wall around the grotto was four feet under the national standards for safety and 7 ½ feet shorter than zoo officials claimed it was makes it “a clear-cut case of negligence.” He also noted that an incident a year earlier in which the same tiger attacked a trainer and ripped much of the skin from her arm would aid in showing that zoo officials were aware of the danger. In that incident, it was concluded by a state investigation that the zoo was at fault because of the configuration of the tigers’ cages.

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