New details behind Cat Haven's fatality

March 16, 2013 12:52:01 AM PDT
We are now learning exclusive, new details about the moments leading up to the death of the 24-year-old intern who was killed by a lion in Dunlap.

Dianna Hanson died last Wednesday at the animal sanctuary. Now, for the first time the head keeper who discovered her unconscious body explains how she tried to save her life.

Only ABC cameras were allowed this look inside the actual enclosure where Dianna Hanson lost her life. Cat Haven's head keeper Meg Pauls was the first person who discovered the 24 year-olds lifeless body. "I came around the corner and I saw her behind a bush on the ground. Then I called to her and Cous Cous was near her and she looked as if she was unconscious," said Pauls.

On March 6th Meg says she and Dianna were cleaning and feeding the animals in different parts of the sanctuary. But Meg realized something was wrong when the intern didn't show up at her usual spot. She then rushed to an enclosure where she found her friend on the ground and the lion, Cous Cous, nearby. "I could see her laying down there and I was calling to her to see if she was okay. There was no response," she said.

Meg called 911 and guided deputies to the area where they put the animal down.

Workers at the sanctuary are calling it a tragic, fatal accident but they're now finding strength in their shared memories of Dianna who was passionate about conservation work. Staff members say the USDA inspects Cat Haven several times each year and the agency has never found a violation.


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