SF Zoo takes a PR hit

The PR battle between the San Francisco Zoo and the survivors of last month's tiger attack took a new turn yesterday with the release of...

The PR battle between the San Francisco Zoo and the survivors of last month's tiger attack took a new turn yesterday with the release of the victims' 911 calls. The SF Zoo's PR team -- led by Sam Singer -- has widely discredited the three victims by implying they used drugs and taunted the Siberian tiger. But the PR team may now find itself on the defensive, as the 911 tapes show the zoo workers dismissive to cries for help.

According to the San Jose Mercury News:
The calls appear to show that:

•Paul Dhaliwal - who was already slashed across the head and bleeding profusely - and his older brother Kulbir asked for help and towels at a zoo cafe that had just closed, but were not allowed inside.

•With the tiger on the loose, zoo employees locked down the zoo and at first would not allow police, paramedics or anyone else to enter. A 911 dispatcher in a calm tone tried to assure Kulbir Dhaliwal they were trying. "We have to make sure that the paramedics don't get chewed on, because if the paramedics get hurt, then nobody's going to help."

Singer's response:
Zoo spokesman Sam Singer said the tapes show the zoo responded appropriately. He said the cafe manager, who was not sure what had happened, called zoo security.

"The only thing he was responding to is that after he'd closed his business, two boys were banging on the doors to get in," Singer said. "He did the appropriate thing, which was to call and notify zoo security."

Singer also said the zoo "shut its gates temporarily to ensure Tatiana would not escape and get out into the streets and possibly further harm members of the public, shutting the gates to protect the public as well as police and fire.

For PRWeek's coverage on the SF Zoo tiger attack click here.

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