Thursday, March 7, 2013

Volunteer Killed at Cat Haven

Nearly three years ago I wrote about a trip I took with my aunt , my brother, and two of my cousins to "Cat haven," a feline sanctuary in the foothills east of Caifornia's  San Joaquin Valley.  I may be confusing the details because it was awhile ago, but the event  was, to me, most memorable because I toured the place in a wheelchair due to a broken leg and collarbone, and the wheelchair ride was much like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride without the safeguards in place at Disneyland. I think I was dumped out of my chair a couple of times, my chair overturned at least once, and my cousin accidentally lost his grip and sent me roller-coasting down a small embankment. The culminating event was a case of heat  ]exhaustion bordering heat stroke, and a cast on my leg that got soaked to the point that it had to be replaced. Either at Cat Haven (to which I referred as Cat Hell) or at the faciity where my cast was replaced, I picked up a nasty bacterial infection  that caused the new cast to have to be removed for several days while the wounds were treated.  Scars from some of the wounds are still slightly visible.  All things considered, my trip to Cat Hell was not one I would care to repeat.

My experience at Cat Haven, however, was a trip through the tamer rides of Disneyland compared to what was recently experienced by a volunteer and/or intern at the  place .  Dianna Hanson, either 24 or 26 depending upon which source is accurate (I would tend to believe her father over her employer in regard to her age, but I'm not entirely sure my own father knows my correct age at the moment, so maybe not) entered an enclosure of a 4-year-old male African lion and was mauled to death. Other workers tried in vain to lure the tiger into another enclosure.   Questions concerning why ms. Hanson was in the lion's enclosure were not yet answered. It is unknown as to whether standard safety features were followed, which seems unlikely, yet there may have been extenuating circumstances . A circumstance would have to be damned extenuating to compel me to enter an enclosure in which a lion was being held, but that's another matter entirely.

When no one was able to get to the woman to provide assistance, sheriff's deputies shot and killed the lion, which had been human-raised since the age of eight weeks. Autopsies and/or necropsies will be performed.

My sympathies are with the family of the victim.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds dreadful... because of your experience as well as the woman's who was mauled to death.