Friends Remember Dianna Hanson, Cat Haven Volunteer Killed In Lion Attack

Days after a 500-pound cat attacked a 24-year-old intern, Project Survival Cat Haven in Dunlap remains closed with a guard on duty.

Those who knew 24-year-old Dianna Hanson remember her as a vivacious young woman who always brought a smile to those she worked with.

Dale Anderson, owner of Cat Haven, said Dianna joined the nonprofit wild cat preservation in January to begin a six-month internship.

Fresno County Sheriff's deputies on Wednesday found Hanson's body lying inside of an enclosure with a 4-year-old male African lion.

The lion was shot and killed by deputies who said that the lion was preventing officials from administering medical attention.

Wendy Debbas, president of Cat Haven, said that Hanson was doing what she loved.{}

"She was doing what she loved and she did it with joy everyday she worked here. She's going to be missed I'm so sorry this has happened," Debbas said.

Fresno County Coroner David Hadden said it appears the attack was accident.

There may have been problem with the gate separating enclosures, and that the lion may have used its paw to open the gate and attack the woman who was in what was intended to be a secure area, Hadden said.

For Anderson , who opened Cat Haven in 1993, the death of Hanson and of the lion, named Cous Cous, has hit hard.

"Some people don't understand what this attack meant, we lost two family members," Anderson said.

Workers at Cat Haven say Hanson's family is putting together a memorial fund at a local bank.