Lion in Cat Haven attack did not have rabies

July 17, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A state report says a lion shot dead in March by deputies after it mauled a volunteer at a California wildlife park was in perfect health.

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The California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory said in the report made available on Tuesday that extensive testing shows the male African lion known as Cous Cous did not have rabies, a viral disease that affects the brain. Had the test been positive, it might have explained why the young lion attacked 24-year-old Dianna Hanson of Washington state.

Hanson was cleaning the lion's cage at Cat Haven in the Sierra foothills east of Fresno. The 550-pound lion had been in an adjoining enclosure.

The report said testing was difficult because sheriff's deputies had shot the lion in the head.


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