Project Survival Cat Haven in Dunlap announced it will once again lead guided tours for the public on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A big reason why the sanctuary is reopening so soon after this tragedy is that Hanson’s parents gave their consent to do so. They say Dianna would have wanted work to resume as quickly as possible.
Dale Anderson, founder of the cat haven, cited the other 29 animals he has at his facility as a reason why Sunday is the right time to reopen for business.
“It’s important we tend to their health and well-being and we believe returning to a state of normal operation is part of that process,” said Dale Anderson of Project Survival Cat Haven.
There are plans to publically honor Dianna Hanson Sunday, perhaps with a moment of silence.
Anderson said her legacy also factored into the decision to open the gates back up.
“Due to Dianna’s passion for big cats we believe she would want us to continue our mission to educate people about the importance worldwide of the preservation of these animals,” said Anderson.
Kira Fenske, who lives in the area, agrees with the choice to reopen the cat haven.
“It brings in business so they’re able to support funding for the animals, the care they need,” said Kira Fenske.
As for the investigation, we’re learning more details into the deaths of Hanson and the 450 lb. male African lion named Cous Cous. Hanson reportedly went in to clean the cage, which she thought was empty, but then the lion got in.
“There were some safety gates that somehow were already open or the lion was able to nudge them open so he had access to the volunteer as she was cleaning the cage,” said Fresno Co. Sheriff Margaret Mims.
A medical report says Hanson most likely died instantly from a broken neck during the attack. However, the two responding sheriff’s deputies did not know that so they used shotgun slugs to shoot the lion in an effort to save her.
“It would have been preferable for everybody if the deputies immediately had access to tranquilizers, however even if they had it takes a while for that to take effect. They had no choice but to put the lion down to get to the volunteer,” said Sheriff Mims.
A veterinarian is now testing the lion’s brain for rabies and other diseases.
“To see if it can throw some light on the behavior of the animal,” said Veno Gopal of the Fresno Co. Coroner’s Office.
Full test results on the lion are not expected for a couple of weeks.
The Hanson family has setup a memorial fund so supporters can donate to one of Dianna’s favorite charities. To do so, click the link above.