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As authorities investigate, father says daughter mauled by lion had wanted to be near big cats

DUNLAP, Calif. — A 24-year-old intern who was described by her father as a “fearless” lover of big cats ventured into a lion enclosure at a privately owned zoo and was mauled to death, prompting investigations by several government agencies that want to know how the accident happened.

Dianna Hanson, whose Facebook page is plastered with photos of her petting tigers and other big cats, was frustrated that the exotic cat zoo in California where she had worked since January did not allow direct contact with animals, her father told The Associated Press.

“She was disappointed because she said they wouldn’t let her into the cages with the lion and tiger there,” Paul Hanson, a Seattle-area attorney, said about Cat Haven, the site of the deadly mauling on Wednesday.

Friends of Dianna Hanson recalled her passion for cat conservation.

“She was lovely. Energetic, athletic. She did everything she could to help our conservation efforts,” said Kat Combes of the Soysambu Conservancy in Kenya, where Hanson recently had volunteered to work in the Cheetah Research Center.

For reasons still being investigated, Dianna Hanson entered the enclosure of a male African lion named Cous Cous on a day that Cat Haven, 45 miles east of Fresno, was closed to the public.

The 4-year-old lion, which had lived at the park since it was a cub, attacked Hanson and was later shot by Fresno County sheriff’s deputies who were trying to reach her body.

Autopsy results revealed the reddish-haired young woman died quickly of a broken neck, possibly from a paw swipe, and the numerous bites and scratches she sustained were inflicted after she died.

On Wednesday, deputies found the mortally injured Hanson lying inside the enclosure, with Cous Cous nearby, said Fresno County sheriff’s Lt. Bob Miller.

Another park worker had failed to lure the lion into another pen, so deputies shot and killed it to reach the wounded woman, but she died at the scene, he said.

Whether Hanson ignored orders or was performing a function that placed her in danger is being investigated by Cal-OSHA, which also is trying to determine if employees were properly instructed about potential danger, as required.

“There should have been procedures that very clearly stated what the employees were required to do in order to not get killed,” said agency spokesman Peter Melton, who added that documentation about the warning had not yet been provided by Cat Haven.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which enforces the federal Animal Welfare Act, is also looking to understand why the lion turned on the intern.

“We’re looking at whether the animal was acting in a manner leading up to that situation that maybe the staff should have been aware of,” spokesman Dave Sacks said. “Was it being fed properly? Was it under undue stress?”

USDA inspectors conduct multiple unannounced inspections of Cat Haven every year and never had found a violation, Sacks said. Federal regulations pertain only to animal treatment, and do not “cover every single instance of what a facility can and cannot do,” he said.

by Anonymousreply 2803/08/2013

I paralyze, I hypnotize and lobotomize

by Anonymousreply 103/08/2013

Even a domesticated pet kitty will turn on you because they get nervous or are in pain.

At least she wasn't ripped apart like the bear-coddlers frequently are.

by Anonymousreply 203/08/2013

I will never understand these types of situations.

Wild, carniverous animals kill. That's what they do.

If I'm blaming the victim, so be it.

by Anonymousreply 303/08/2013

I agree with you Della r3. You only need to watch a few episodes of "Fatal Attractions" on Animal Planet to see how crazy these people are. They get wild cats, they under feed them, they don't let them exercise and then one fateful day they stick their arms in the cage with some food and the cats grabs and kills and eats them.

by Anonymousreply 403/08/2013

I can't believe they killed the lion.

by Anonymousreply 503/08/2013

I am blaming the victim, because of her actions, a beautiful animal had to be destroyed.

by Anonymousreply 603/08/2013

Lions and Tigers and Stupidity, Oh My!

by Anonymousreply 703/08/2013

Stupid is as stupid does.

by Anonymousreply 803/08/2013

Someone left the gate open and the lion got out and then got her. She was on her cellphone as she was cleaning what she thought was a safe part of the cage, and never knew what hit her.

by Anonymousreply 903/08/2013

Sorry, but if she truly loved and respected big cats, and wanted them protected, she'd have respected the need for distance. No matter what she claimed, she wanted to treat those wild cats like some exotic pet. I detest these assholes.

She was no better than Tim Treadwell.

by Anonymousreply 1003/08/2013

Oh, can someone link the gory picture of the guy who got killed by a bear? I think it was a bear. The picture was of a shin with no skin or meat inside a Nike I think.

by Anonymousreply 1103/08/2013

For all her love of the animal, she got it killed.

by Anonymousreply 1203/08/2013

Oh shut up, r10.

by Anonymousreply 1303/08/2013

[quote]Dianna Hanson, whose Facebook page is plastered with photos of her petting tigers and other big cats, was frustrated that the exotic cat zoo in California where she had worked since January did not allow direct contact with animals, her father told The Associated Press.

There is a reason for this you dumb broad. As a lover of big cats she surely had to grasp this.

by Anonymousreply 1403/08/2013

Obviously, the girl meant well; she was an excited volunteer eager to work with exotic big cats. Honestly, I think most young people would be, but yes, fatal mistake and a tragic ending.

I don't know why, but this thread reminds me of this guy (at link). If Timothy Treadwell met a grizzly end, I'm surprised this dude hasn't.

by Anonymousreply 1503/08/2013

Charles Darwin strikes again.

by Anonymousreply 1603/08/2013

Duh, here's the link.

by Anonymousreply 1703/08/2013

Get bent, R13.

by Anonymousreply 1803/08/2013

Most of you on this thread read only the title and not the actual facts that is slowly coming out.

The door was left slightly open and lion was able to escape. The dead intern was near the area. Darwinism doesn't apply unless you're someone like r16 who repeats a concept without knowing what it actually entails.

The real question is who did not secure the lion's cage and was all procedures followed?

by Anonymousreply 1903/08/2013

I heard today that the lion opened AND shut the gate himself.

by Anonymousreply 2003/08/2013

iPod? (hers or the lion's)

by Anonymousreply 2103/08/2013

Told you I was hardcore!

by Anonymousreply 2203/08/2013

What's up with the reply numbers?

by Anonymousreply 2303/08/2013

Born Free...Not of abortion

Can I have your portion

Says Valarieeeeeeeeeeee

by Anonymousreply 2403/08/2013

[quote]I heard today that the lion opened AND shut the gate himself.

cunning cats

by Anonymousreply 2503/08/2013

I Fought the Paw and the Paw Won.

by Anonymousreply 2603/08/2013

Well done, Della. Do you supposed the lion owned an iPawed?

If so, I hope the song Maneater was on it.

by Anonymousreply 2703/08/2013

Was she menstruating?

by Anonymousreply 2803/08/2013
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