‘If we could have, we would have’: Man whose ‘irresponsible’ acts led to tiger’s death won’t face charges

Investigators say a man who was attacked by a tiger after he entered an unauthorized area of a southwest Florida zoo, forcing authorities to shoot and kill the animal, will not face any charges in the animal's death.

Anthony Robert "River" Rosenquist, 26, of Naples, will not be facing charges after a deputy shot and killed an 8-year-old tiger that attacked Rosenquist after he jumped a safety barrier at the Naples Zoo and stuck his arm through the internal fence in the tiger’s enclosure. The incident happened Dec. 29, 2021.

According to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, there are no applicable existing laws to charge Rosenquist at the moment. 

"I am frustrated and even angered that there is no existing criminal law that applies in this tragic situation that resulted in the untimely death of a rare and endangered tiger," said Sheriff Kevin Rambosk. "I am committed to developing draft legislation for our Florida legislators to consider that will hold accountable those who endanger animals with reckless acts." 

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Sheriff Rambosk has met with staff at Naples Zoo to draft legislation that would hold someone responsible in the future. 

The Collier County Sheriff's Office released the following statement:

"We understand that so many people were expecting and even demanding criminal charges be filed against Mr. Rosenquist.

"Our enforcement authority and our nation’s justice system operate within laws set forth by our legislative bodies. When incidents occur that no one ever imagined or could anticipate happening and are not governed or covered by law, the course of action is to work with the applicable legislative bodies that can enact such law. That is what we are doing.

"We know that we will receive plenty of feedback on what we could have or should have done with regard to criminal charges.  If we could have, we would have."