CA Coroner: Cat Sanctuary Intern Killed by Lion 'Did Not Suffer'


By Heather VacLav

It's a story that's made national headlines, an intern mauled to death by a lion at a California animal sanctuary.

Sources say the young woman was not supposed to be in the cage, and the news of her death has people across the country talking, including right here in Montgomery.

24-year old volunteer intern Dianna Hanson died soon after a 350-pound African lion attacked her, breaking her neck, a local cornoer said Thursday.

"(She) died very quickly and did not suffer," Fresno County coroner Dr. David Hadden said.

Hanson was mauled Wednesday by a 5-year-old lion inside a cage at the Project Survival Cat Haven in Dunlap, California.

A preliminary autopsy showed that Hanson died of a "broken neck and other neck injuries," the local coroner said. The lion inflicted other injuries "post-mortem."

"I heard a couple of people talk about it at work, so it's a hot topic," said Winchell Jenkins of Dadeville. "But as far as people having dealings with animals of that nature, it should be limited."

The lion was shot and killed so that rescuers could reach the dying woman, but it was too late. Now people are questioning if this could happen at other zoos, like in Montgomery.

The director of the Montgomery Zoo would not comment to Alabama News Network on camera, but Doug Goode said that unlike the California sanctuary, the lions at the Montgomery Zoo are not allowed to be enclosed in the same area as keepers.

The Montgomery Zoo has double locks and keepers do not work directly with the animals. Zoo officials say the two young male African Lions get their food through a slot, and visitors should not be worried for their safety.


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