Last Updated: Tuesday, May 15, 2007 – 2:09 PM PT
The owner of the tiger that killed a woman last week in the B.C. Interior says it was a freak accident and not an act of aggression by the animal.
Kim Carlton spoke briefly with reporters at his private zoo in the tiny community of Bridge Lake on Tuesday.
He said he felt compelled to make a few statements; one that he loved his fianceé, Tanya Dumstrey-Soos, and that she loved his tigers and was not afraid of them.
Carlton said she petted them good night each evening, and that’s what she was doing Thursday night before she was killed.
Dumstrey-Soos was wearing a dress at the time, something he said he had warned her against.
The tiger enthusiast said he believed the tiger swatted at the dress and caught his girlfriend’s leg, severing an artery.
He began to cry as he described their children as “heroes” for beating the tiger away, calling 911 and tying a tourniquet around the dying woman’s leg.
They also got a cellphone to her so she and Carlton could tell each other of their love before she passed out and later died.
At one point Tuesday, Carlton punched the fence on his property in frustration, saying he’s angry at what happened, and that he has lost two loved ones — his fianceé and his pet tiger, which was euthanized over the weekend.
He refused to discuss the legal or political issues stemming from the tragedy, saying he is devastated and that it’s time for him and his family to grieve.
Call for tougher regulations
Vancouver city council will consider a motion calling on the province to regulate exotic animals such tigers.
Coun. Kim Capri brought the motion to council Tuesday, saying she wants the province to amend the Wildlife Act to specifically define and regulate the keeping and sale of exotic animals.
Capri said last week’s attack in Bridge Lake was preventable as the tiger is a wild animal that should not be kept in captivity.
“They are not animals like dogs and cats that have been domesticated over hundreds of years. They’re animals that have primitive tendencies and they’re just fulfilling their natural way of being. So, to suggest that this was unexpected and that it shouldn’t have been anticipated is completely wrong; the evidence suggests strongly to the contrary.”
Capri said she expects her motion to be endorsed by the Union of B.C. Municipalities at its annual convention in September.