Lion attack victim died from broken neck

Thursday, March 07, 2013
Lion attack victim Dianna Hanson and Cat Haven lion Cous Cous

Left: Cat Haven lion Cous Cous | Right: Lion attack victim Dianna Hanson (KFSN Photo / Corin Hoggard | Facebook Photo)

The Fresno County Coroner said Thursday that Dianna Hanson died after her neck was broken during the lion attack at Cat Haven.

The coroner said Hanson died instantly from the neck injury. They said the lion then caused additional injuries after her death.

The tragedy unfolded Wednesday afternoon at the Cat Haven in the Fresno County town of Dunlap. When investigators arrived, they found Dianna Hanson in an enclosure with the lion Cous Cous. Deputies say they shot the lion to get close to Hanson. Dianna died in the enclosure.

Paul Hanson said his daughter had experience handling animals. She had trained with tigers and a lion while in college at Western Washington State University. She also traveled to Africa to work with large cats. She was two months into her six month internship, which she was doing to get the necessary credits to one day work at a zoo.

Annual safety checks by the U.S.D.A. and Fish and Game show Cat Haven is in good safety standing, and has been so for more than a decade.


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