California Big Cat Animal Park Appeals Safety Orders

July 16, 2014

The operator of a Central California animal park California says he’s appealing orders from state regulators to increase security more than a year after a volunteer was killed by a lion.

Dale Anderson, founder of Cat Haven in the foothills east of Fresno, said Monday that the Division of Occupational Safety and Health wants him to put locks on more cage doors, have workers pair up and arm them with pepper spray.

Anderson says those measures might put workers in more danger by making them complacent or angering the animals.

Last year, 24-year-old Cat Haven intern Dianna Hanson died after a 550-pound lion escaped from a partially-closed feeding cage and broke her neck. Officials cleared the park of any wrong-doing, calling her death an unfortunate accident.

CalOSHA spokesman Peter Melton says his department is focused on protecting workers.

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