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April 23, 2013 at 8:15 PM

Lion cages where Brier woman was fatally mauled were working properly

The enclosures at a Central California wild animal park where a lion killed an intern from Brier were working properly at the time of her death, federal officials said.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Tuesday that the agency’s investigation on the day after Dianna Hanson, 24, was fatally mauled in March found no violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act at Project Survival’s Cat Haven.

USDA investigators looked at whether proper enclosures were in place, and whether they were in good working order, among other things.

“We looked at anything and everything that could have contributed to that incident, including enclosures, the employee training program, procedures for cleaning enclosures and feeding the animals, and we did not find any violations,” said USDA spokeswoman Lyndsay Cole.

The federal agency’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service sent two people — an inspector and a big cat specialist — from its office in Fort Collins, Colo., after the attack. Hanson, a big cat lover, was working a six-month internship at the private zoo in the Sierra Foothills. near Fresno just west of Kings Canyon National Park.

The inspection into Hanson’s death included the safety clasps on enclosure doors. Hanson was cleaning the cage of a 4-year-old male lion named Couscous when he somehow escaped from a smaller enclosure and attacked her, leading some to speculate that perhaps a door had not been latched properly.

Sheriff’s deputies killed the animal when they could not lure him away from Hanson’s body.

Comments | Topics: Cat Haven


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