No answer yet on why door was open in fatal jaguar attack in Denver |

No answer yet on why door was open in fatal jaguar attack in Denver

DENVER ” A police investigation into a fatal jaguar attack on a Denver Zoo keeper did not determine why the animal’s cage door was open, but detectives found no evidence of a crime, a newspaper reported.

The police report said zoo employees told a homicide detective “they had no reason to believe what happened to (zookeeper Ashlee) Pfaff was more than a tragic accident,” the Rocky Mountain News reported in Wednesday’s editions.

The police report said the investigation was closed and there were no charges to be filed. The News said it obtained a copy of the 14-page report, which had not been officially made public.

Pfaff, 28, was killed Feb. 24 when a 140-pound jaguar named Jorge got through an open door into an employee access hallway and pounced on her. An autopsy found Pfaff died of a broken neck and had extensive internal injuries.

Initial reports said the jaguar was shot and killed when it approached others trying to rescue Pfaff, but the police report said the cat survived the gunshot and was then tranquilized with a dart.

The report said a zoo staffer then euthanized the cat by cutting open a jugular vein, apparently because he was unable to find a suitable vein to inject with euthanizing drugs.

Zoo spokeswoman Amy Sarno said Tuesday zoo staff “made every attempt to save the jaguar” but determined it was mortally wounded from the gunfire and decided to euthanize it.

Sarno said zoo officials had not seen the police report.

Pfaff, who had started work at the Denver Zoo in 2005, graduated from New Mexico State University in 2002 with a degree in biology. Her parents live in New Mexico.

Pfaff’s death is also being investigated by the zoo, the U.S. Agriculture Department, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a zoo accrediting agency.

The Denver Zoo obtained Jorge in 2005 from the Santa Cruz Municipal Zoo of South American Fauna in Bolivia.

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