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In brief: Volunteer killed by lion at animal park

DUNLAP, Calif. – A lion killed a volunteer intern at an exotic animal park in Central California after she entered its enclosure, and authorities were trying to determine what might have provoked the animal to maul her.

Cat Haven founder and executive director Dale Anderson was crying as he read a one-sentence statement about the fatal mauling at the private zoo he has operated since 1993.

The 26-year-old intern was attacked and killed when she entered the male African lion’s enclosure, Anderson said, but he refused to provide more details.

Sheriff’s deputies responding to an emergency call from Cat Haven, in the Sierra Nevada foothills about 45 miles east of Fresno, found the woman severely injured and still lying inside the enclosure with the lion nearby, Fresno County sheriff’s Lt. Bob Miller said.

Another park worker had unsuccessfully tried luring the lion into a separate pen, so deputies shot and killed it so they could reach the wounded woman, who died at the scene, Miller said.

Investigators were trying to determine why the intern was inside the enclosure and what might have provoked the attack, sheriff’s Sgt. Greg Collins said. The facility is normally closed on Wednesdays.

Holder quiet on marijuana question

On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont popped the question to federal Attorney General Eric Holder that so many in Colorado and Washington have been anxious about.

At a far-ranging Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Leahy asked Holder if he was prepared to announce the federal government’s response to new legal recreational-marijuana laws in those two states.

Both states are moving ahead with implementing regulations but could face lawsuits and prosecution from the federal government, which considers all forms of marijuana a dangerous illegal drug.

Holder said he’d had “good conversations” with elected leaders in those states. “We expect our ability to announce a policy relatively soon,” Holder said.