Sunday, May 13, 2012

San Francisco Zoo - You Sure Have Got Some BALLS!!!

Once again, not sure where to begin.  This post like some others I've posted and noted the same, is overdue, as I've known about this for months, but it was brought to my attention right before Tunya's  (Lion) shocking passing and then I lost four more Zoo friends in as many weeks.

Before the recent catalyst for this post, I wanted to do a post about this topic (Zoo Animal Enrichment) for some time, but now I don't even remember what the goal of that was, because this current outrage has blurred all previous thoughts.

CURRENT: To synopsis this post (as I'm sure it will digress a few times and become lengthy), The San Francisco Zoo has committed yet another crime against myself and my friend Lee.  They have used photos, taken by us, without permission.  Last time I checked this was illegal.  Zoo Director Tanya Peterson has a Law degree, you would think she would know better.

DETAILS: Lee regularly checks the Zoo's website (I don't ever go there).  They have recently revamped their site and now have a section there describing Animal Enrichment (, more on that later. More important to this post, they also have a photo gallery with a topic link for Enrichment ( In this photo gallery are two photos of Animals enjoying Enrichment Toys.  These Toys were made by Lee.  The first one pictured is of African Lion Jahari from Boneyard Day and the other (pictured last) is that of Andean Bear Wishbone.  The photo of Wishbone was taken by Lee.  We have no idea how they got that photo, nor do they have permission to use it.  The one of Jahari may be hers as well, but she doesn't have her archive from that day available to check at this time.

Wishbone with Mache Ball
Teddy Bear Festival, July 2010
Photo Property of Lee 

As it appears on the Zoo website

Soon after discovering this, I was sent a link to a part of the Zoo's website, San Francisco Zoo Director's Bulletin(  On that page I saw one of MY personal photos being used as well.  Once again, like when I heard about the illegal use of  Lee's personal photo, I was fuming.  We have been treated horrible by the San Francisco Zoo, so this really is a problem for me.

Jahari with (remnants) of Mache Pig
Leanne's Birthday, July 2010
Photo Property of Kim

As it appears on the Zoo's website

I do not know how my photos found their way to being used illegally in this manner. Lee does not know how her photos found their way to being used illegally in this manner. 

Lee may have shared prints of her photos with a Keeper as a personal momento.  I shared my photos with a few people in a few ways.  I have given prints of my photos to Keepers.  The only two Keepers who I shared my actual photo files with, both via email and in a CD were Barb Palmer (no longer on Staff) and Debbie Marrin (now Assistant Carnivore Curator).  All shares came with instructions that these were for personal use only and not to be shared with other Zoo Staff.   Barb asked me if she could share a few with Deb Howe (facilitator of Renew the Zoo), to use as examples of the kind of Enrichment Toys we were making, as she was told Volunteers (via Renew the Zoo) would make "like" items.  Debbie shared a few with her friend who does Enrichment Seminars.  She thought the quality of what we were making was valuable and it should be be included in the Seminar presentation.  One Seminar took place at Oakland Zoo in 2010.  No other use's beyond personal were ever given.  No one was authorized to use my personal photos in anyway other than stated and all parties understood this.  What is also understood is that the San Francisco Zoo knows these photos are not theirs, yet they go ahead and use them anyway.  

Lee, if anything, shared prints only and the only other place her photo of Wishbone was shared was on her personal Facebook page.  My photos are on my blogs and my photo site.  Both accessible by anyone, yet noted that these are photos taken by me and therefore my property.  However the Zoo obtained them for use on their website and wherever else they might be using them, they know they have no permission to be using them.

There was no authorization given by myself (or Lee) for the use of our personal photos by the San Francisco Zoo in any way.

Considering the treatment Lee and I have gotten from the Zoo (with the exception if a small amount of Staff) from February 2011 on, I would NEVER allow them to use anything of mine.  EVER!

They revoked my Membership, based on untruths.  They made false accusations against me.  Spread lies through out Staff.  They stole Video tapes I lent to the Primate Department.  Now, they are using personal photo's without permission.

To this, I have to say Oh My Gosh, San Francisco Zoo you sure have got some BALLS!!!

If you don't want anymore details, please skip to the highlighted portion at the end for my wrap-up!

ADDITIONAL DETAILS:  The manner they are being used, to me appears the San Francisco Zoo is alluding to the fact that they (Staff or Volunteers) have made these Enrichment Items (Toys) through "in-house" efforts.  This is not true.  The Enrichment Items shown were designed and made exclusively by my friend Lee and donated to specific Zoo Animals via their Keeper.  Read more about Enrichment Toy Items designed, made and donated by Lee and Myself here,

In addition to what I wrote in the previous mentioned blog post, I want to quote some portions taken from the Zoo site regarding Enrichment, that I found particularly irksome.

I will note in part (the other part I will note later on) as this directly relates to the illusion that this is part of their (supposed) Staff/Volunteer created "Enrichment", they note, they make, "papier-mâché creatures".

If the Zoo had made any such "creatures" in any of their official Zoo efforts, why are they using three photos that highlight Items we created?

I have never seen any paper mache creatures other than the ones made by Lee.  They made one attempt at paper mache (after both Lee and I passed on teaching them how to) and abandoned that after it took too much time and effort.  I was the one who started the paper mache items (at least in recent times) with making a Ball for my precious Tony's (Siberian Tiger) 18th Birthday.

Tony and his Birthday Ball :)
March 2010
Photo by Kim

BACKSTORY- Those who have followed my previous blogs, have read mention of some of this.  You also know I'm very detailed, so I will lay it out in full, I appologize for any repeated info.  I feel that although most of this information details what we did for the Zoo Animals, knowing this information directly paints the picture of why the Zoo using our photos in anyway, illegally or to allude untruths, is bothersome.

January/February 2010.  My favorite time at the Zoo had always been the Halloween event, Boo at the Zoo.  I loved watching the Animals get Holiday themed "toys".  By January 2010, I had become friendly with Big Cat Keeper Barb and when I realized female Lion Amanzi's Birthday had passed without notice, I felt bad.  Male Lion Tunya's was the upcoming week and his son Jahari's was two weeks later.  I asked Barb if we could celebrate them all and she loved that idea.  I had never made anything for the Animals before but asked if I could.  We talked about materials, and I decided to make giant party favors using a thick paper bought on a roll, gift wrap and paper mache' paste as the adhesive.  The party was a hit with the Lions!  They had so much fun and watching them was fun for all of us.  It was an awesome feeling to have made something that was then being used by such incredible beings.  I knew these Animals from visiting them a few times a week, but seeing them interact with Items I made, made me feel more connected to them.  I wanted to do this more!

March 2010.  Male Tiger Tony was having his 18th Birthday soon, so since we did a grotto wide Lion bday party, I asked Barb if we could do one for Tony and also bring stuff for the girls, Padang and Leanne.  We discussed how Tony didn't like to open things, so Lee and I decided to just get big gift bags and I made my first attempt at Paper Mache' so Tony would have something extra and different.  Again a fun time was had by all!

In the following weeks both Lee and I started making small stuff here and there.  We had noticed that Barb had been spliting up Leannes food into 6 portions and putting it in small bags and boxes for her to hunt for it in the yard.  So, I made some mini sized party favors, I called poppers for this and Lee made some small deco'd containers she called "pace" boxes.

Starting with Easter, over the next couple months, Lee and I started making more and more elaborate Items, which Keeper Barb called Toys :)  We would pick a theme and make items of different shapes, sizes, colors.  We factored in each Cats personality.  We took Padang's physical limitations into account when making her Items.  We were doing major Enrichment for the Big Cats every Saturday.  They loved it!  They knew too.  They would see us and know it was Toy Day!  It was great for everyone.  We loved making these Toys, knowing the joy it would bring them.  Barb loved the excitement of seeing what we would come up with every week.  She said it was like Christmas when she would open the bags to see what was inside.  The Visitors loved seeing the Animals up and having fun. I even heard on gal say "They don't even do this at the San Diego Zoo!"   Not only were we doing something we loved to do for the Animals, but we made the Zoo look good.  BUT most important of all, the Animals loved it!

Around mid-June Barb said we had to hold off making stuff for a bit, there was some vague rumblings coming from above Barb.  At the time I didn't know the details, but Barb asked us to write up something about what materials we use so the Vet would have it on file.  So I wrote up Who we were, What we were doing and What we were using.  There was a few weeks wait time for the Vet to authorize.  I knew the Vet Dr Jackie (Jencek) casually, but she didn't know me by name.  I saw her on the grounds during this wait time and told her it was me and my friend (who was a former Docent) who were making the Enrichment Toys.  Soon after we got the "Ok" from her to go continue.  She had been in the Lion House office and saw stuff that hadn't gone out yet and loved one Item Lee made for Leanne she called "Leanne's Lunchbox," and looked forward to seeing it go out.

The go ahead came right before the 4th of July, so we wanted to go all out and have a big festive red, white and blue explosion of fun for the Cats!

Amanzi and her Firecracker Toy
4th of July 2010
Photo by Kim

During the above time frame, there was a change in job's for a couple Animal Staffers.  Current Carnivore Curator Ingrid Russell-White, was removed from that position and Primate Curator Corrinne MacDonald became Curator of both Primates and Carnivores.  From what I was told Ingrid's new job duties were a collection of this and that, one which included being in charge of Animal Enrichment.

Animal Enrichment covers a variety of different things, for the purpose of my position, I am specifically refering to the type of Enrichment "Toy Items" provide.  I learned about Enrichment from the Big Cat Keeper before I even started to make Toys for the Cats.  I found it more and more interesting as I got more involved.  There are many great resources online if you want to learn more about the different kinds of Enrichment and what it does for Animals in captivity.

Once the Curator change took place, an "Enrichment Committee" was formed, headed by Ingrid.  I was approached by Keeper Debbie and asked if Lee and I wanted to join the Committee and help by teaching others how to make what we were making.  In return we would be official volunteers and get free parking (a volunteer perk).  Lee and I discussed it and declined.  Lee had been part of the Docent program but was treated so badly by some in the program she quit.  Neither of us wanted to be official anything at the Zoo as that would require us to be vulnerable to all the politics and associated drama.  We just wanted to make Toys for the Animals.  We were allowed to continue doing that as we had been in the past.

Note that what we were doing was such:  We used our own money for supplies, which included never used paper, boxes, paints, brushes, flour (for paper mache paste). We both spent approx 25 hours a week each, working on designing and making Items exclusively with each Animal in mind.   We brought the Items
(in unused plastic bags) to the Lion House every Saturday and gave them to Keeper Barb. Barb then filled them with treats and put them out for each Cat.

Note that because of our Toys, Padang (Tiger) got this type of Enrichment for the first time in her life.  It took her a bit to get the hang of it, but started looking forward to it.  One day inparticular I remember Keeper Barb carrying out three painted bowls for our Snake themed day.  Paddy was inside and picked up pace following Barb along the Lion House rooms as she carried them toward her grotto.  It was a joyous thing to see.  Paddy was so excited!  ... We were also instrumental in making Sukari (female Lion) feel comfortable.  Sukari had been transfered to the Zoo months prior but was still very shy and hid all the time.  She had been nicknamed the "cave dweller" by Keepers.  We wanted to have a Lion House wide party for her Birthday.  At this point we were not only making Toys for the Lions and Tigers, but for the Snow Leopards and Fishing Cats too :)  We weren't sure if Sukari would even be able to participate in her own celebration.  The night before I had a thought, knowing Suki liked to sit in the cave, I envisioined that putting her "cake" in front of the cave door would get her to at least see it, then she would know it was there and come back for it.  She had gotten other Toys, but only after seeing them, and sometimes that would be long after they were set out.  I relayed this thought to Barb and so Barb put the cake in front of the door.  When the door opened, Suki saw it and did a double take before starting to dash, then reached in and snatched it! 

Padang running toward one of her Snake bowls :)
Photo by Kim, Sept 2010

Sukari snatching her Birthday Cake :)
Photo by Kim, August 2010

OK i've majorly digressed.

July 14, 2010 - I got a call on my cell phone from Keeper Debbie asking if we could make Enrichment Items for that weekends Zoo event, Teddy Bear Fesitval.  This was Wednesday night.    I got another call from Keeper Deb Cano asking to "Place an emergency Enrichment order."   This was Thursday morning.  We had both already been working on our weekly Big Cat Toy Saturday, but we didn't want to let our Bear Friends down.  In 48 hours we made enough Items (Balls, Bags, Clings) so that each Bear would have something for both days of the event.  I also made window clings for the Grizzlys.  These were Bear shapes that could be stuck on the Gulch windows with honey or peanut butter.

Kachina going for a cling :)
Teddy Bear Festival, July 2010
Photo by Kim

There was one Bear "stand-up" in the Grizzly Gulch, that was the effort given by the Staff led Enrichment Committee.  I know this because I am friendly with some Docents and when the Enrichment Committee was formed, one told me,  the Docents were asked to sign up, but not many had.  In my opinion that is shameful.  For one I felt the opportunity was extremely rewarding and it still is one of the best things I've ever done.  It is also my opinion that considering the necessity of this type of Enrichment and the lack of consistant people to make these Items, the Docents should be required to help with this.  But alas there is no structure in most parts of how the Zoo is run.  Sorry for the editorial, but its true.  In addition to not many signing up, I was told that this One Item for the Teddy Bear Festival is allegedly all the Enrichment Committee ever produced.  They were never asked to make anything else for any Event or Animal.  Just last week in fact, this same Docent asked me "What ever happened to the Enrichment Committe?"  Almost Two years later AND I am not even the Staffer who's job this is.

Sadly if Lee and I had not been able to provide Enrichment Items, the Bears would not have had stuff for the event, rather the Zoo would not have had stuff for the event.  Basically, we saved the Zoo's event.

August 2010- October 2010 - Lee and I continued to have grand themed Enrichment Toy Day every Saturday for the Cats.  I made some additional Items for the Bears when we lost Andy (Polar) and Annie (Andean), so that their surviving companions had something extra to busy their days.

On October 8,2010,   Lee was emailed a letter and "formed" document from Jessa Barzelay, Education Department Supervisor.  I will detail  this, but in short it basically said, Thanks for inspiring us, but (no thanks) we don't need you anymore.

Notable quotes from the letter include:

"... your work has inspired the Animal Division and Education Department to team up to create a formal enrichment volunteer program to offer yourself, and others, the opportunity to earn volunteer hours  while creating much-needed enrichment. I am hoping that you’ll be interested in taking on somewhat of a leadership role in this new program."

"This program is taking effect immediately."  -  For comment regarding this see below ***

"Due to these new guidelines, the only way anyone will be able to participate as an Enrichment Volunteer is to join us at Renew the Zoo events."

"Thanks again for inspiring this new opportunity"

So, all I have to say in addition to the obvious Thanks, but no Thanks, and what I've written below (***)  is, this formed "Program" was designed specifically so that we would no longer be able to provide Toys for the Animals.  They knew we would not participate in their program.  They knew we could not, for it took too many hours at all given times to create what we did.  Additionally, we were the only Two people doing this, and neither of us were some random people off the street.  Having a Program is great (as I told Peterson and MacDonald) for new people.  There was no reason except for the alleged issue Corinne had with us and the alleged issue Ingrid had against us doing something that it  was her job make happen.  The only ones who have lost out here are the Animals, for neither the "Committee" or the "Program" have produced regular Items.

*** This was a Friday night.  It was well known that we worked all week creating Items for Saturday, so to send this on the night before knowing we already had stuff made was calculating and personal.  I called Keeper Debbie that night and she knew nothing about it.  She was upset by this and said she would call me in the morning and let me know if we could still bring in what we had for that day.

The Cat Keepers were all very upset by this turn of events.  They knew how much our Enrichments meant to the Cats.  Keeper Barb had said they never had this kind of Enrichment and explained it as "high yield" which meant that it evoked a high energy excitement for them, much like hunting would in the wild.

What happened after that in short is this.  We were able to bring in what we had already made.  I emailed Director Peterson (who at that point I was still communicating with) and explained our position, which was basically, that we felt this was personal, because of the wording in the email and document sent to Lee.

Director Peterson responded to both Lee and I and initiated role of liasion to have us continue doing what we had been.  

The following Saturday, while the negotiation was still being bantered between Director Peterson and Carnivore Curator Corinne MacDonald, I ran into Corinne in the Lion House.

I entered into the conversation with the intention to present the situation as I saw it, note the absence of such Enrichment would be a real loss to the Animals and relate that what we were doing, is needed Zoo wide and that the new program could work in supplement, providing Toy Items to all the other Animals that we don't have the time to cover.

The conversation offered an odd mixture of comments from Corinne, a management professional.  As I ran down the detail of the situation, she responded by making statements that called both Director Peterson and Vet Dr Jackie liars and said she "Didn't care what Barb thought."  The later most offended me, as from what I understand Corinne came from a Business background and Barb an Animal one with over 15 years experience at SFZoo alone.  Her opinion on the needs of these Animals is of top value.

She also said, "They don't need this kind of Enrichment."   Interesting.  If they don't "need" this then why are OUR photos that show OUR Enichment Items, being used on their website as part of the Enrichment they offer?

She went on to say, "Give us a chance, we just started."  She went on to say that they were concentrating on stuff for the Halloween Event first.  

I'll note a few things.  Barb said she was told she would "Receive the same type/amount of things that she was getting from us."  She never got anything, except for the Halloween and Christmas events.  I remember her saying to me the week after we were no longer allowed to bring stuff, that she showed up after lunch (when the Lion House opened) and there were no Items left for her, so she had to figure out what to give them, as they were waiting for what they had grown to expect, FUN!  I say expect, because those Cats knew when it was Toy Day!

I am not going to make any judgement regarding the necessity of this type Enrichment Item because I am not an Animal Care Professional BUT I will note in regard to my experience.  In my experience in this situation, a person with 15 plus years experience in Animal Care has said that it is a necessary aspect, I have witnessed the fun and excitement it brought to the lives of the Animals involved, I witnessed personal character growth in Sukari, personal life enrichment for Padang, and I have also since done extensive research on other similar Enrichment Items provided to Animals in captivity.  I believe I witnessed that indeed our Items Enriched the lives of the Animals.

With a negotiation between Lee and Corinne, we made Toys a few more times, but so many obstacles were created and untruths told that we eventually had no choice but to stop.  Thankfully we were able to give Padang her 21st Milestone Birthday Party and do a collective Bear Birthday Party.

 Padang surrounded with her Birthday Prizes!
November 2010
Photo by Kim

Wishbone with his Birthday Cake!
January 2011
Photo by Kim

See all the Bears with Bday Cakes

I can tell you right now, That was October 16, 2010.  Today is May 2012.  Aside for the Halloween and Christmas events, with a few one off painted boxes, apparently none of the Animals have gotten any Enrichment Toys, certainly not on a regular basis.  AND that Halloween event 2010, their new "controlled" program produced Items which not only were painted ugly and scary, but had STAPLES on them!  I was horrified when I got home and looked at this photo of Jahari holding a box with huge staples an inch from his paw!  I immediately emailed the photo to Keeper Barb and she replied that during clean-up she saw that in addition to TAPE!  Staples and Tape can seriously harm any Animals.  So much for "controlled". ...  Why don't they put photos up of the crap they make.  I'll give them permission to use this one.

Staples on Zoo provided Enrichment Item
Boo at the Zoo 2010
Photo by Kim

They note on the current website regarding Enrichment, "Zoo staff and volunteers work hard to provide the animals with something novel each day. Making enrichment is not easy; it takes creativity to make safe items for the animals that don't have tape, staples, glue, or toxic chemicals. For example, wrapping paper is often applied to boxes using peanut butter or a gluey mixture of flour and water".  

Note:  I was told by Debbie Marrin that San Francisco Zoological Society Board Member David Stanton (who has donated to Enrichment efforts) circulated a "questionaire" requesting information regarding what type and how many Items were needed for the Big Cats.

December 2011 -  We were at the Zoo less than 24 hours after getting our Memberships back and we got into a conversation with Staffer Deb Howe.  In the same breath as saying that's great, she said, "Maybe you can start doing Enrichment again?" !!!  Making statements that they have had basically nothing since we stopped making Enrichment AND that what they did have was "crap"!   I immediately said, "I would never."   My position was based on how we were treated and that I never wanted to be involved with the politics there again.  Lee felt more sentimental about it, (wanting to make stuff for Padang (Tiger) and entertained the conversation long enough that I heard things I didn't like.  

Discussed at length was both "Enrichment" efforts on behalf of Ingrid Russell-White the Staffer whose job it actually was.   I said I wasn't interested in making other people look good.  To which she said, "You know how we like to use and abuse people." !!!  I couldn't believe she would say that to us!  No thank you!  ... Lee emailed Deb as requested about this, but has never heard back.  In my opinion that's a good thing.  I wouldn't have doubted that since they blamed us for a code red because they had a faulty dispatch system and feared issue with their upcoming accreditation inspection, they would blame her if an animal got sick after playing with one of her Items.   Thankfully this opportunity never materialized.

January 2012 -  At the Zoo event Big Cat Breakfast, Deb pointed at the store bought pinatas and said to Lee "Look at the crap we had to give them."   I will also note that not only were these store bought, the materials used in store bought items like this contain dye from other countries.  This was a previous concern noted to Lee once by one of the Director's Staffers.  I guess being desperate for Items trumps such concerns, as they also provided the Cats with Chickens bought in Chinatown, when I thought all food Items went through a regulated process.

SO to wrap this up, I will go back to the current catalyst for this post and note that the Zoo has quite a wordy page on their site that details the use of photos (  In full a bit hypocritical.  

These are the parts that I found pertaining, "All Zoo visitors can grab photos and video for their private, personal use only." "The PR department handles requests to come to the Zoo for photography and videography shoots, whether it is commercial, private, or media-related. Outside companies are required to request the use of the Zoo facilities and images of its animals for advertising, film, documentary and video productions, books, consumer products, CD/ROMs, packaging, and stock photography. If permission is granted, it would involve payment of a standard licensing or location fee."

Not only is the San Francisco Zoo illegally using photos without permission, they have paid Staffers (I believe two now with Enrichment as part of their job description) who's job it is apparently to make sure all aspects of Enrichment are fulfilled and this Toy Item aspect is not being fulfiled. AND the Zoo is posting information like it is by alluding to that with posting information and photos.  AND alluding that those Items shown are ones made by their efforts.  I know full well that no such effort is being made.  The Keepers have received one-off painted boxes and otherwise bring in boxes and bags on their own to use.

This post is not to cry about not getting to make Enrichment Toys, although when I look at photos I have of the Cats and Bears enjoying our Toys, I cry that they don't have that anymore.  This post is about the San Francisco Zoo continually doing stuff that is just not right.  It is obvious that the Management team has no concern for what's best for the Animals, I have blogged abot so many things that reflect this.  This post is about me being tired of them treating me badly when I started out being a great friend to the Zoo.  I'm tired of it.

If the San Francisco Zoo does not want to provide Enrichment Toy Items to their Animals, there is nothing I can do about it,  BUT they should not allude to the fact that they do, by using photos of Items made independent of their Staff efforts, AND doing so by using photos they have no permission to use.

Notice to San Francisco Zoo.  Either cease using the two photos mentioned or cut us a check for licensing fees.

You can view photos of all the Enrichment Toys 
we made on my blog exclusively on this subject

You can view Photos from 
all our Enrichment Toy Days 
and other wonderful captures of 
the San Francisco Zoo Animal Friends here 

View Videos I made showing OUR photos 
of San Francisco Zoo Animals having FUN 
with OUR Enrichment Toys! :)

San Francisco Zoo - You Sure Have Got Some Balls!

Teddy Bear Treats! - Bears @ San Francisco Zoo

D'm Bones!  -  Lions @ San Francisco Zoo

happy birthday zoo friends! - animals @ san francisco zoo

NOTE:  This post will be cross posted to my other blogs.

As always, please expand the comments, as information of interest may be included.

Thank you ;)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Final thoughts on this Crime 4 of 4

Note there are 4 posts in this series
This is the last post

I was watching the movie Moneyball recently and there was a quote exchanged between two characters.  This is a film based on a true story so this isn't probably a fiction based line, but even if it is, it was very relevant to my whole situation in dealing with the San Francisco Zoo Management.  I tried to be helpful by being extra eyes and reporting not only misbehavior for which this particular crime against me was committed, but to offer suggestions on how to make the Zoo be all it can be and thrive.  I thought there would be value on the perspective of a Visitor.  I thought trying new things and moving forward would be welcomed.  Instead I learned that that Zoo is run based on personalities and the personalities running the place are not open to thinking outside the box that has been their way of doing things for decades.

Quote from the movie Moneyball:

 I know you've taken it in the teeth out there, but the first guy through the wall. It always gets bloody, always. It's the threat and not just the way of doing business, but in their minds it's threatening the game. But really what it's threatening is their livelihoods, it's threatening their jobs, it's threatening the way that they do things. And every time that happens, whether it's the government or a way of doing business or whatever it is, the people are holding the reins, have their hands on the switch. They will bet you're crazy. I mean, anybody who's not building a team right and rebuilding it using your model, they're dinosaurs.

My thoughts:

This is kinda old news as it happened via post mail on Friday December 23, 2011.  I had planned to "update" the crime right away, but that didn't happen, so I pushed off the date to the year anniversary of when our Memberships were revoked Valentines Day.   Sadly the deaths of five Zoo friends (Lion, Eland, Rhino, Seal and Bear) in five weeks, starting on January 23, 2012, set me back. 

So to wrap this up, I will say a few things.  I don't think its necessary to say to much as except for my thoughts about my Membership being returned, I have detailed everything in the previous posts.  Every fact and thought about the situation and those who perpetrated this action against myself and my friend Lee is there.  

This action in my opinion was meant to create a cover for Zoo procedures that are faulty and to keep us from financially being able to visit as often as we had been, aka so we wouldn't be as privvy to the going's on there.  That didn't work.  We continue to be privvy to too much stuff.  Stuff I don't even want to know, but for some reason, the Master of the Universe wants us to be.

The Master of the Universe has also led me to believe that the simple act of returning our Memberships and Complimentry I might add, shows an admission of guilt, or it would have never been returned AND definitely not free of charge.  ... You don't go as far to say the Zoo is unsafe with us there and then give us a free ticket.  If any of the accusatioins were true, they would have stood by them.  I proved they were untrue.  

In addition to what I knew to be true, I conducted my own investigation (one that no Media could do, nor City official would do) and compounded the facts I already knew with additional information.  That information proved there was no way the accusations against us were true.

Untruth is a common practice among humans.  Its something that I don't practice in my life and that sometimes causes me conflict with those who do.  It is something that I can not stand by and let happen to myself or something I am passionate about.  

In the Letter from Director Peterson, she states, "To the extent further issues arise beetween you and the Society, a subcommittee of the Board will be formed to review."  I don't particularly like being threatened, which I take this to be.  Since I have proven that there was no basis for the original action, this to me is nonsense.  We did nothing wrong.  Director Peterson either launched or became the face of this situation based on untruths.  A situation which lasted almost a year long, caused everyone involved to waste an incredible amount of time and energy dealing with it, whether on our part defending ourselves or on the Zoo's part trying to keep the story going.  If the she and the rest of the Management Staff spent as much time on the Zoo as they did on us, maybe the place would be run better and there would be less people harassing the Animals.

Lee got the same, Membership and Letter, as I did,  although her letter had the added "Happy Holidays" in the closing.  I guess I didn't warrant pleasantries.  Maybe because I don't follow the Director set chain of command.  Oh wait, I don't work there, so I don't have to.  If the Zoo Staff on all levels had a way to report abuse of power, without fear of losing their jobs, maybe the Zoo would have better Management Staff and practices.  

I contacted people outside the walls when someting wasn't right.  The first time was via the SF Animal Control and Welfare Chair regarding the arrival of Tucker the Hippo.  The second was in regards to this Membership Crime.  When you work at the Zoo, you can't speak outside your immediate supervisior.  This keeps the nest that is bad Management intact.

I will continue to question things there, report misbehavior and relate MY expereiences in MY blog, that not against rules, those are my rights as a citizen of this country.  

Keep up to date on what's happening at the Zoo 

both fun

and bothersome

Follow me on Twitter, @leo811 to recieve San Francisco Zoo related updates on my sites.

Thank you to all who followed this crime drama saga, and who commented or contacted me.  Your support will always be appreciated.

This case in finally closed!

Please read all 4 posts in this series for the full saga.

Got My Membership Back! ... Includes Letter From SFZOO Director 3 of 4

Attached here in photo form is the Letter I received from 
San Francisco Zoo Director Tanya Peterson along with my Membership

The next and final blog post on this subject
will detail my thoughts about this.

Please read all 4 posts in this series for the full saga.

My Response to the Zoological Society Chairman, plus... 2 of 4

Below is my response to the Letter from the San Francisco Zoological Society Board Chairman David Stanton.  It includes much stuff I have detailed in previous posts but also stuff that I didn't post as I didn't want to make all the evidence that I had gathered public so that in the final stages Management could create more untruths to counter that information. It is long, detailed and honest. Some may say I'm long winded but you can't say I'm not passionate and I haven't fought this battle for justice.



Mr. Stanton,

You are probably surprised to receive my reply at this time, as it has been a couple months since your correspondence. The anguish of these outrageous claims and the action taken, makes it something I don't want to deal with, but for the same reasons I must. I will not give up seeking justice for myself and my friend Lee.

When I received your response to my letter, I was frankly offended and appalled. There are many things to say in the matter and I formed a reply that was a mini novel. Unfortunately after sitting on it, it must remain that length. As well, in that time I have gotten yet more information that supports not only my theory of "why", but also the growing dissatisfaction of a majority of the Staff. It may seem the information you have been given makes us out to be menaces and unliked, when that is not true. Yes there are many small minded people among the Staff who are followers and cowards and will listen to heresay, but there are also smart ones who don't let here-say alter how they treat people. So, I still have the ear of many and vice-versa. After reading my reply in full you will see that there is much going on there that you are not aware of. I have heard that some of the treatment Staff has been subjected to is finally being brought to the Board by the six Staff Members who are City Employee's and safe from the firing squad. I think Tanya's firing of Roger Hoppes was a major catalyst.

September 8, 2011

Mr. Stanton,

I will start by thanking you for your correspondence. It will not be my intention to come off sarcastic, but as I counter some of the things you have written, you must understand that having to continually try to seek justice after being slandered, frustration does invoke, and a certain tone is unavoidable.

This situation has gone on for almost seven months. It has been mentally and emotionally time consuming to battle the lies. I have spent too much time and energy, on behalf of myself and my friend Lee (who also had her Membership revoked without reason given), documenting everything, writing letters, ect. Just to get justice. Its an insane thing to have to go through, when you did nothing wrong. No one should have such things said about them, that goes against the truth of their passion. I love the Zoo Animals, all animals, more than people, so to have my reputation slandered as it has been is simply, a very big problem.

This experience has been insulting and hurtful. Its shameful that the Zoo, a place that as a native San Franciscan I have loved my whole life and have supported more than anything else over the past few years, has treated me in such a way, that it is no longer my happy place. If I wasn't so attached to the Animals that live there, I would never go back. I have the Zoo Management team to thank for ruining a lifelong memory.

I apologize for the length this will surely turn out to be, but I must refute these accusations and there is no short answer. As well, I am a person of detail, and being clear can't not be blunted.

Your opening statement states that you do not understand why I requested a direct reason be given, is very condescending. I'm offended that you think the courtesy of expecting a reason to come with my refund check (or after, when I asked in writing) is too much to ask for. Not to give a reason is unprofessional. I do not believe my having to seek reasons, is neither professional or my responsibility. I do have “communications” with Staff, but the information given from someone who was not involved in making this decision, is not to me considered an official word of reason. As well it should not be. This decision was made with direct initiative by Director Peterson, who should have then been the person to remit to me directly in writing an official reason. I should not have to hear it via a third party, and by that I mean PR (Lora LaMarca or Gwendolyn Tornatorre) giving reason to the Media (KGO) and Supervisor Representatives (Adam Taylor for Supervisor Scott Weiner) that I got involved. I will also note that the above referenced “communications” that I am referring to are the ones I had with those who referenced the revoking, not other random Staffers. Other random Staffers that I continue to have a good rapport with, wouldn't have this information. As well they know the truth and our character. They continually apologize for the Zoo Management's behavior and accusations. One has even said point blank, "Tanya has treated you like shit."

I found the tone of your whole letter to border on rude, in an already been tried and been proven guilty way. For someone who doesn't know me, and who has not been directly involved in any of this alleged behavior, you have made some pretty serious accusations as the (now) face of the situation. From what I've read about you, you must be a good businessman to be in the position you are. That considering, it would seem like you might want to not take everything told to you as truth and give the accused equal opportunity to be heard officially, as well as do some investigating on your own.

Before this letter even came into play. The two previous correspondence's I sent you, provided all the details and a request for an in-person meeting. I think its curious that Director Peterson fails to be directly involved in defending her reasoning initiative in writing (prior to or within this correspondence) or in person. She is the one who knows me. You have not been witness to any of the behavior I am being accused of. Let my accusers face me. In the mean-time, I will continue to address each of your bullet points in an attempt to be clear on the actual truths of the situation, since the accusing side has portrayed certain things in a questionable manner. That question being Why would we (I)? One post in the (my) blog I have referred you to details this as follows.

Why would Kim?

Who has:

-Been a Lifelong Visitor
-Been a Member most of Adult Life
-Since 2008 Visiting 3/4 times a week
-Adoptive Parent to Bairds Tapir Goober.
-Part of a group who donated to the Tatiana Memorial Bench.
-Became friendly with a majority of the Keepers and Staff.
-Did extensive online research, including reading every article posted in the archive on the San Francisco Zoo. Dating back ten years. & Read every Joint Zoo Committee Meeting Agenda and Minutes posted online from the past ten years. More research than most Zoo Staff, paid and volunteer.
-Responded to and reader comments, in effort to educate and endear people to the San Francisco Zoo and its Residents. More outreach at the time than the Zoo's own Staff.
-Has numerous websites sharing information and Photos on the Zoo and the Animals. More than official San Francisco Zoo websites.
-Constantly interacted in person with Visitors, sharing my knowledge of the Zoo Animals.
-During most of 2010 Made Enrichment Toys for Big Cats and on occasion Bears.
-Organized a Memorial in honor of Tony (Siberian Tiger), for his Keepers and Friends, that consisted of his favorite meal Meatballs, and handout photo mementos.
-Made and provided handout photo mementos for Animal Birthdays.
-Made poster sized Birthday cards for the Big Cat Birthdays, that are still displayed in the Lion House office.
-Lent Primate Department (via Keeper Jill) videos for the Animals to watch. I offered to loan in rotation my Disney Collection. Never received the first two back. Its been over a year.
-Worked at Photo Booth, just to be working on Zoo grounds.
-Got Guard Card after being there so often and seeing horrible harassing of the Animals. I never wanted to be a Security Guard, but I was unemployed and felt I may have to, in order to protect the Animals, since the Guards working there weren't, but after new Company was hired, I felt secure they were doing a good job. That feeling has since changed.

Why would Lee?

Who has:

-Been a Member of many years.
-Is a Former San Francisco Zoo Docent
-Is a Former SFZOO Animal Parent in Adoption Program. Adopting upwards of 6-10 Animals per year.
-Has both arms filled with tattoo's of the Big Cats.
-Made Animal Photo Magnets and donated to Members Morning event for visitor take home mementos.
-Constantly interacted in person with visitors, sharing knowledge of the Zoo Animals, even after being forced to resign from Docent Program, after being abused by a higher level Docent.
-During most of 2010 Made Enrichment Toys for Big Cats and on occasion Bears.
-Organized a Memorial in honor of Tony (Siberian Tiger), for his Keepers and Friends, that consisted of his favorite meal Meatballs, and handout photo mementos.
-Was asked by the Zoo Director Tanya Peterson to speak at a meeting about the Memorial.
-Was asked by the Zoo Director Tanya Peterson to submit her Resume for possible job opportunity within the Fundraising Department.
-In 2010 Renewed Membership at Guardian Level ($1000. per year)

Why would either of us, do what the San Francisco Zoo Management is claiming we have done?

*To quote my statement in my emails to both Corrine and Tanya, that stated I didn’t "want a response" from them, is void in this situation. That was in reference to what was detailed within that individual correspondence. I was not interested in anymore correspondence with them, regarding anything to date. That date was January 24. I think revoking someone’s Membership weeks later, requires correspondence of reason. ... I will also note that even though I did request no response in that January 24 email, Tanya still sent one, and there was no negative tone to it.

I am sorry, but the information that you receive should not always be taken at face value. People spread untruths. There is injustice. Just because a peer says something, does not make it true. You are a businessman, I am sure you have a better checks and balance system in your business, than that of the Zoo. In fact, I approached you and Phil Ginsburg as outside parties, as I was under the impression that the Board and Park & Rec were the Zoo's checks and balance system so to speak, in that you were in the position to question curious things. Unfortunately it appears that is not true. That said and assumed, who are the ones to question what goes on there?

On September 23, 2010 I read an article in the Examiner titled, "Zoo Visitors Becoming an Endangered Species", in which then Park & Rec Committee Member Michael Sullivan was quoted "I don't know what it causing it." It prompted me to write an email to Mark Buell, as I could point out some things that are going on there that could be improved on and definitely make a difference in how the Zoo is perceived, which in turn boosts attendance. I got no reply. No response left me feeling like those words were then are just words and no one with the clout to make the Zoo be all it can be cares enough to really do anything beyond attend cocktail parties with their check books. I don't mean to be rude, but from the stand point of someone who is a member of the public and deeply cares about the Zoo thriving, so the Animals who call it home, have a home to live out their lives, this is how it appears.

Staffers won’t say things because they fear other Staffers and getting fired. If you work at the Zoo and want to keep your job, you must keep quiet. There are only so many facilities in the area for such a career. You might want to think about invoking a anonymous communication line between the Board and the Staff, because there is much that goes on that doesn't get past certain levels because of fear. What does get past, most times will not make it as far as the Board.

*I did hear via the third party Media and Government sources, that there were claims of "abusing" and your word “demeaning” Zoo Employees. Now you have added that my conduct was “disruptive and unsafe”. These are very serious accusations. You must provide details of who and what these individual accusations are, beyond calling Corrine a “fool”, which is neither abusive, demeaning, disruptive, or unsafe, in the sense that it was used.

I will go as far as apologizing for the use of the word "fool" in regard to the actions put forth towards us by Corrine. Your vocabulary may be farther reaching than mine, so please advise of a better word to describe someone who, not only has taken away an Enrichment option from the Animals (that Keepers expressed to her were necessary) and who in written correspondence gave us permission to make Enrichment Toys in a collective celebration for the Bears Birthdays, and then sent an email denying she ever gave such permission, after we spent approximately 30 hours each and our own money making these Toys. Keepers (four) under her who used our Enrichment toys all got a copy of the emails I have noted, so that it was proof that we did not go against what was agreed, as she was telling them we had. So yes, she did appear the "fool" to all involved. I just defended us and presented the proof. How it appeared, is in her actions of untruths.

I look forward to you remitting information regarding the other Staff Members who have made complaints against me. I hope as the face of this serious and as well slanderous statement you have been given these details. This will be interesting, because unless the place is laden with two-faced people, until we had our Memberships revoked, I had a good acquaintance relationship with all the Staff I knew, including Tanya, with the exception of Corrine. I will also note until a certain point, which I can only guess at, Corrine was even nice to me.

I have to say this is all started and appears is rooted with Corrine. There are even several Staffers that agree. She took some personal issue she had with us/me and made it reflective in the professional arena. In one conversation I had with her, it was clear she didn't like me questioning or stating my opinion (which I was told long ago by several Staffers that, Management didn’t like (opinions) and that they would try something), neither of which is a "Membership" offense. In that conversation, she went on to call (in front of witnesses) both Tanya and Dr Jackie, outright liars, and demean the professional status of Keeper Barb Palmer who works in her department and has years of experience in Animal Care above her. As well she has said that we made time demands regarding the Enrichment Toys, which are untrue. She said a Keeper complained to her, that is also untrue. With the Enrichment Toys, we dealt with four Keepers. All of whom never said such a thing. All of whom, rallied and begged for the Enrichments we made to continue. You can ask them personally. Barb Palmer, Debbie Marrin, Hilary, and Dave Carroll.

That said, at a time in mid 2010, when the Carnivore Curator switch went from Ingrid Russell-White to Corinne, Ingrid was moved into a head position in the newly formed Enrichment Committee. A full year and a half later, this Committee has yet to produce. I know for fact that while Lee and I were making weekly Enrichment toys for the Big Cats, that Carnivore Keepers continually requested items and never got them. So much so that I personally received a call on my cell phone from two Keepers (Deb Cano and Debbie Marrin) requesting to place an "emergency Enrichment order", to supplement what little they had for the Zoo sanctioned Teddy Bear Festival event. So, yes, after working 30 hours on Big Cat toys for our regular Saturday event, both Lee and I made enough Bear themed Enrichment Toys in less than 48 hours, so that there would be enough for each Bear (seven at the time) to have two items for both days of the Zoo's event. We're such horrible people. I will also note that aside from the four Keepers we dealt with, not one other person on Staff ever thanked us for the weekly Enrichments OR for helping with a Zoo event.

I was told by several people, that the Zoo doesn't like when people not on the payroll do jobs that Staff can do. Maybe this is part of the problem as well. Lee and I were actually doing something that someone was getting paid to do and not doing. We did it because we loved it and the joy it brought to not only the Animals, but the Keepers and Visitors.

Lee and I were asked to be an official part of both the Enrichment Committee (Summer 2010) and the Enrichment Program that was formed in October 2010 and facilitated through the Education Department in conjunction with Operations and Renew the Zoo. We declined because of politics.

*You state “often” I have stated that “I want no response”, I think I covered that earlier in noting that was in reference to a specific communication. Please remit more instances, as “often” twice does not make.

*You quote my words in an email to Tanya, “Nothing can be said to alter how I view and how I feel,...” In that correspondence I did not express dissatisfaction with my Membership, I expressed instances regarding treatment, which had nothing to do with my Membership (which only serves as an economical perk), but with my communicative relationship level with Tanya.

*OK, the big one. The incident at the Bear Grotto on February 5, is detailed very clearly in my blog. There is nothing in the Zoo version of the story that is accurate beyond, me detailing to several Staffers the timeline and reason for the call made by me and the one made by Lee. There was most certainly a visitor OVER the barrier. That is why Lee called. Just because the person obviously jumped back, they say there never was? That does not even make sense. We most certainly DID NOT say or “admit” to that call or any other, as being a false/prank call.

The only reason I even had a conversation with anyone about the calls is because (once again) they were obviously taken and dispatched wrong. I felt that this error needed to be identified to avoid future errors which could be true dire situations. I spoke out to help the Zoo and got crucified for it.

Please remit to me the name of the person who I used any words in the realm of "admit" or "false".

WHY would we make a false/prank call?

Also note that when the Bear Grotto offense was called in, we were wearing party hats! (In honor of Jahari the Lion's Birthday). Why would we call in a false call and stand in the middle of it all wearing party hats?

Also, WHY would we admit to it if we had? Isn't the nature of a prank call to be anonymous? If we wanted to do something like this, why do it on a day we were there? Why not call it in from home?

The accusation is ridiculous. This never happened.

There is obviously something else going on, that this untruth was formulated. I have two theories. Corinne complained to Tanya that she didn’t like us and so, this was formulated to make it so we were not able to economically visit as often, therefore not be in the mix of what’s going on there as much (because obviously from things I've stated, I do know what's going on there and have a rapport with many) OR (and most likely) because with the upcoming AZA certification in Safety (I believe within a couple weeks following), with the major faults that fell within the dispatch of those calls, saying there was no one over the barrier was better than the actual dispatch system faults being documented and coming to light. I document these faults in detail on my blog.

Additionally, I have been told on many occasions, by the head of Operations Deb Howe, that after that incident there was a major change in the way the ER line is handled. Some changes even one's I suggested to her. Who answers it, the information that is taken and how the information is taken and dispatched. So, if there were no faults (to invoke a need to blame someone) WHY would there be an immediate need to change the dispatch system? There wouldn't be. That is proof right there that our call was not the issue, the way it was dispatched was. ... Also, there was another call beside ours that is not being recognized, because documentation was not taken and they would be liable for that. They know us and know we made two of the calls, so we became the scapegoats. ... Recently while going over the incident again, something clicked and another point became an additional clear in our defense. When the Bear Keeper (Justin) that day came out, he went by us and I heard the Code Red go out over his radio, in a male voice. WHY would I have heard that, if the Code Red was called on Lee's call? For it to be on Lee's call it would have had to be BEFORE any of the Staff appeared on the scene. ... I was even told by a Staff member (upon hearing of our Membership revoking) who was at one of the post incident meetings that "It had nothing to do with the calls you made. The calls were dispatched wrong, went out on wrong channels and didn't even get to the appropriate people in time." This explains why I saw the target team with Dr Graham, enroute after we had left the Bear Grotto's and were already back near the Lion House. Its all sketchy and made-up to cover-up, because bottom line, a call was made reporting misbehavior, per the signage wording. Whether or not the offence was still in action when it was responded to, doesn't matter. It happened, it was reported and the problem fell and failed with how it was dispatched.

(added 11.5.11 ... The other two other calls that came in stating people over the barrier, were yet again confirmed by another Staffer. I was also told the reason the call was taken so severe was because a kid had gone over the barrier very recent prior to that.)

*This last bullet point makes no sense at all. It amazes me that no one within the Zoo organization can see that these accusations regarding this Bear Grotto incident do not even make sense.

The last thing I will say regarding this accusation is, I spoke with Head of Operations, Deb Howe (and Keeper Dave Carroll was with me as witness to what was said) after the third Party reasoning's came in. She point blank said, “I do not consider that call a prank call. But, no one listens to what I say.” I invite you to (as stated in an earlier paragraph) not take everything you (the Board) is told at face value and go to the Zoo on your own (without Management knowledge) and ask Deb Howe her opinion. Security is her department. Why is her opinion invalid? I had an in-depth conversation with her two days after the Bear Grotto incident, in which the calls being labeled prank/false never even came up. We discussed many things, including how the calls are handled and the faults in that system. She thanked me for always being "the eyes", since there isn't enough Staff/Security out there. AND since, as recent as a couple weeks ago, Deb has encouraged both Lee and I to continue calling and reporting misbehavior.  

The story of this event changed from Monday Feb 7, when I talked to Deb to the following Monday the 14th when our refund checks were written. The "story" came not from the Departments directly involved, but from Management. The "story" is just that, a story.

That said, in the past, we have not only reported misbehavior but also observations we have seen regarding Animal behavior, one such to note was a major balance slip that Tony (male Siberian Tiger) had that I caught on video and alerted Keeper Barb Palmer to, who in turn alerted Dr Jackie, who was thankful to have that piece of footage. This noted a definite turn in the events of Tony's health, just a few months before his passing.

I must add that I also questioned the Security gal named Gisella, after the Media rep went to the Zoo to validate my side and said she (along with Deb Howe) wouldn't tell him anything. She was the first person that Bear day that we talked to about the calls. She is the one who initially told me there was a call after ours reporting "a male and a couple, three people over the barrier." She point blank said to me, "I just say what I'm told to. I need this job. I have bills to pay." That there is an admit of being involved in untruths.

I do not mean to insult, but your Society Bylaw quote, really carries no weight as not only is it not made public to all Members (at least as of our revocation 2.14.11), but the California State Non-Profit Code trumps that in that we received no warning or the opportunity of due process, according to the States guidelines. I requested a due process meeting almost two months ago and was ignored till now of any correspondence or acknowledgement. This Bylaw could very well have even been added after the fact as a defense for accusations made, just like the update to the Membership portion of the FAQ was added to the Zoo website after the fact and tailored directly at accusations against us.

Zoo PR LaMarca had Marketing gal Amy Frankel send me the Zoo's policy, which contained nothing applicable. A few days later a paragraph was added to the Membership FAQ on the website. That's fine, but is not valid in retrospect.

Neither myself or Lee has done anything that can be construed as “detrimental to the best interest of the corporation”.

To note that my conduct has been increasingly disruptive to Employee’s for two years is unfounded and I invite you be specific. I had an open communication with Tanya about many things Zoo-wide until January (which by my count is 8 months), when I ceased that relationship. I have all her emails, thanking me for my care, support, concern, suggestions, … If I was so disruptive for the past two years, why was I allowed to make Enrichment Toys for almost the whole year of 2010? To the appreciation and gratefulness of all (Keepers, Vets and Visitors) who got joy from watching the Animals have some fun on a weekly basis. Why was I begged to help with the Teddy Bear Festival in 2010? Why was I asked to be a part of both the Enrichment programs formed in 2010? Why was I allowed to go behind the scenes (in 2010) several times to meet and feed Animals? There is an obvious forgery in the painting of the picture you have received.

We are not public enemy number one as has been led to believe. We have both supported the Zoo more than some Staff Members and Docents. The treatment we have received has been disgusting and has at times, made me physically sick. This is literal and not for dramatic purpose. When I read this letter I felt like I was kicked in the chest. I still feel that way, with tears added.

It is most offensive to me as I am probably the most truthful person I have ever come across. I am proud to live my life honestly. Unfortunately honesty has become a novelty. Not many people do and that is the problem. Truth, so many don't apply it to their lives, therefore when they come up against it, it is often viewed as abrasive, rude, sarcastic, ect. I am not afraid of my truth. I tell it like it is, and that is not always welcomed. That does not make my truth "illegal".

Having an opinion, comment or suggestion is not against any rule, in the Zoo or out of it. As a Resident of the City of San Francisco, as well a Citizen of the United States, it is in my Fifth Amendment right to voice my opinion, when there is something I find questionable, eg. not right. When I am secure in my position, as I am in this disgraceful injustice, I invoke that right. I do not let myself be pushed around by a gang of bullies, who make-up stuff to suit their own personal agenda's against people they don't like for whatever reason, and this is exactly what is going on here. And, it appears that those removed from the immediate situation, eg. yourself, other Board Members, Phil Ginsburg,... believe whatever you are told rather than look at the facts I have presented in detail (within the blog I previously requested you read). When you should be saying to yourselves, "Huh, maybe there is other things going on here." I can't believe you can read all that I have detailed and not see that there is a question about the validity of all these accusations.

Also, it begs curious that I am viewed as such a "detriment", making the "Zoo unsafe", why is it I'm allowed there at all? How does my being there as a Visitor differ from that of a Member? Taking away my Membership was just an act of meanness, plain and simple.

Regarding the use of the word “unsafe”, I will also note that the day I found out my Membership had been revoked, I was trying to enter the Zoo an hour prior to arriving for that evenings Joint Zoo Committee Meeting, which as a passionate Zoo Member I attended anytime it was held at the Zoo. Curiously (although not really), a Security Staffer (Eddie) was present. The following month, March, I did not attend, as I did not feel I would be welcome. I read the Meeting Minutes online. New Security measures had been installed.

“Advisor Stephens asked what prompted possible changes in security measures. Director Peterson answered that as far as she understood, persons had contacted various city entities, which resulted in broader discussions about security and other measures present for public meetings at the Zoo.”

“Persons had contacted various city entities”, interesting on the heels of my first correspondence to City entities. This most certainly implies that I am dangerous. And that, is a serious implication.

A couple months ago I witnessed an adult Visitor throw something at a Chimp. Security basically did nothing, but after I called them on it, they gave the family a warning! A warning for physically abusing one of the Animals in their home. AND I make the place unsafe? Even this past weekend, a Visitor was standing up on the cement barrier belly to the (10 ft) glass at Tatiana's old enclosure, waving his arms over the top and nothing was done. At the very least why weren't either of these families asked if they were Members and have their Membership revoked? Why, because that's not how things are done there to actual offenders faces, yet it was done to us and we did nothing to warrant it. The difference in how our situation was handled, we have not been accused by our accusers to our faces, because there is no truth to the accusations. I bet if the Dhaliwals wanted a Membership, even now after its been proven that they indeed taunted Tatiana, I bet they could have one.

What happened to us is just not right, plain and simple.

So, YES I do think my Membership should be reinstated.

I apologize for the length of this as it has exceeded even what I thought it might when I started writing. There is so much to say on this subject and I condensed as much as I could, given that this seems to be the only opportunity in which you are giving me/us to be heard. So, all pertinent information must be included.

Thank you for your time in reading this.


PS I am including a letter from Lee , as she is as much involved in this as I am. This has been upsetting to her so much so, that in addition to her working full-time, she has allowed me to be the voice of the situation to date. I showed her your letter, as well my reply to you and she wanted to add to what I’ve written.


(As well I sent a letter from Lee along with mine.....)

September 13, 2011

Mr. David Stanton
Chair, SF Zoological Society
1 Zoo Rd.
San Francisco, CA 94132

Dear Mr. Stanton:

I am writing to you to request that my membership be reinstated for the following reasons in which I will make very brief.

I am responding to a letter that my friend Kim received from you recently. I would like to touch on that for a moment. I met Kim a few years ago when I was a docent there at the zoo. She and I had both lost our cats recently and found solace in speaking of our grief and enjoying the wonderful zoo animals to take away some of that pain. I have always known Kim to be most of all, straight forward, exact, and extremely honest with a magnificent love of animals. I have read her letter and I am witness to what has gone on and it is fact. (maybe slightly more blunt than you would prefer, but it’s straight forward and true). Also because of how upsetting this has been to me and that I do work full-time, I have let Kim speak on my behalf in all previous correspondence regarding this.

Now, a little about me:

I have worked in major hospital in the bay area in Financial Counseling since 1975. I have been a Bay Area native my entire life and the zoo has always been a wonderful place for me. I raised every kind of animal you can think of as a child and have a great passion for animals. (you should see how I spoil my cats). I, also, am extremely honest and pride myself in my honesty also. I am, even after almost six months, still in shock at my membership being taken away for untruths. I never even got a chance to state my case so to speak.

In a nutshell, I only received an email from Tanya stating that my membership would be refunded and a quick note stating that I was involved in a false alarm causing animals and keepers to be in danger. NOT TRUE. I made a call that day because I witnessed a man climbing over the barrier to Pike’s grotto and made a call immediately. When the office answered I hardly gave info because the person on the other end stated that security was already on its way. I then noticed keeper Justin coming from the back of the bear area and walking towards a very rowdy crowd and after he passed Kim and I, I heard the code red alert go out over the radio, in a male voice. After that, everyone was in a panic and asked to leave. I did NOT call a false alarm. I saw someone going over the barrier and when I tried to tell the lady on the phone, she hung up on me. The code red came when the keeper apparently must have seen something. I heard the crowd yelling that and saw a couple people acting strange and yelling code red.

Kim and I then stopped at the Lion House and spoke to security and she (Gisella) said that she had heard our calls and a third one stating 3 people went over the barrier, a male/female couple and a solo male. We were still in shock but she assured us that it was the third call that clinched it. Kim and I were still upset over this and Kim went that following Monday, I believe, and spoke with Deb Howe, to let her know how the calls were taken. Deb Howe assured her that it was dispatched wrong. Since then Deb has told us to please continue to call if we see things happen.

So, I would like my membership back right away. I have always gotten along well with zoo staff, have been a docent 2008, spent 2010 making BigCat and Bear enrichments (on my own time and keep in mind I work full time), put together a memorial service for Tony the Tiger and supplied food for special keepers as a remembrance plus had orange roses in the Lion House for two weeks in honor of Tony the Tiger. I have been a multiple animal adoptive parent. I would also like to state that I am almost 60 yrs old and extremely handicapped with arthritis. Why would I make a false phone call? I believe in Kim’s letter she has mentioned my strengths.

I will close now because I could just go on and on and know you are probably quite busy. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I hope that you will reconsider reinstating me without further delay. I am a great asset to the zoo, enjoy the keepers there and have formed powerful bonds with all the very special animals there at the zoo. Thanking you in advance.



I am having Kim enclose this letter with hers to save time and make it easier for you to compare notes. Please feel free to read her blog on the animals there and see the photos of all the enrichments we worked on for the animals there. For almost a year, Kim and I saw that there was a animal show at Big Cats every Saturday with themes!!! The BigCat Keepers were awesome with that and loved it, we loved it, the visitors loved it and mostly the Big Cats did. There is no way we would put an animal in danger. We have been slandered for some unknown reason that I hope comes to light.

Please read all 4 posts in this series for the full saga.