The Ozark city zoo’s tiger exhibit featured Winnie, a female Siberian tiger. She was five years old, weighed 300 pounds, and stood three feet tall at her shoulders. Siberian tigers are endangered; only about 500 exist in the wild, and about 200 exist in captivity. They live up to 25 years.
Two brothers, 18 and 19 years old, visited the zoo just before closing. Earl and Merl had had a few drinks. They went straight to Winnie's pit. They decided it would be fun to tease her as she lay within the walled pit minding her own business. They threw pine cones and sticks at Winnie, causing her to growl. Then Earl hopped onto the wall and dangled his legs into the tiger pit area. He yelled at Winnie while Merl threw a plastic bottle full of water. The bottle struck Winnie's head.
Enraged, she sprang toward the wall. She slashed at Earl’s foot, removing one of his shoes. Earl screamed, hopped off the wall, and started running. Winnie quickly measured the height of the wall, and leapt. Although the wall was 13 feet high, Winnie landed on top of it. The two brothers were running toward the zoo restaurant, figuring that there would be safety in numbers. But they never made it. Winnie quickly caught up to one, and then the other. With one bite to each of their necks, she killed them both.