CALIFORNIA BIG-CAT PARK APPEALS SAFETY ORDERS: FRESNO . (AP) — The operator of an animal park in Central California said Monday he’s appealing orders to increase security more than a year after a volunteer was killed there by a lion.
Dale Anderson, founder of Cat Haven in the foothill community of Dunlap east of Fresno, said that the state’s 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 said he has worked around large cats for 23 years and fears these safety measures were created by state officials who lack his experience and may put workers in greater danger. More locks would not add safety if the rules aren’t followed, and working in pairs creates complacency, he said, adding that keepers may shoot pepper spray into their own faces.
“They’re turning around and trying to tell me how to put my procedures together,” Anderson said. “Where is this coming from?”
On March 6, 2013, 24-year-old intern Dianna Hanson of Seattle died when a 550-pound lion named Cous Cous escaped from a partially closed feeding cage, breaking her neck. Officials shot and killed the lion when it couldn’t be coaxed away from the body.
Anderson said local, state and federal officials cleared Cat Haven of any wrong in the death, calling it an unfortunate accident.
CalOSHA spokesman Peter Melton said in a statement that his department is focused on protecting workers, including those around exotic animals. The state’s attorneys have offered to negotiate with Cat Haven, but the park hasn’t responded, Melton said.
Cat Haven remains open to the public and is home to 31 cats from a dozen species of all sizes.
2 POLICE OFFICERS TIED TO KKK IN FLORIDA: FRUITLAND PARK, Fla. (AP) — Two police officers are no longer with the city department here after a law enforcement report tied them to the Ku Klux Klan, an official said Monday.
Deputy Chief David Borst resigned and Officer George Hunnewell was fired last week, City Manager Gary La Venia said.
The link surfaced in a report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement based on information from the FBI, which learned about the connection during a broader investigation, La Venia said. He didn’t know what it was focused on.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokewoman Gretl Plessinger said she couldn’t say what was in the report since it is “active intelligence.”
The State Attorney’s Office told city officials that pending cases from the officers will be reviewed, although Borst’s job was primarily administrative and didn’t involve much patrolling, La Venia said.
The city of 5,000 residents is located about 40 miles northwest of Orlando. Fruitland Park was once known for its citrus groves and is in Lake County, where KKK violence in the 1940s and 1950s was chronicled in the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Devil in the Grove.”
BORDER AGENTS RESCUE MAN HANGING FROM FENCE: CALEXICO (AP) — The Border Patrol says agents have rescued a man who hanged himself from a border fence in downtown Calexico, California, in an apparent suicide attempt.
It happened Sunday night in the area that separates the California city from Mexicali, Mexico.
The Border Patrol says an agent saw the 27-year-old Mexican man climb over the fence with a rope and hang himself.
The agent grabbed the man by the legs and held him up to release pressure on his neck until another agent came to help.
The Border Patrol says the man wasn’t breathing when he was lowered down but an agent revived him. He was taken to a hospital for evaluation.
STORE ACCEPTS A 25-YEAR-OLD GIFT CERTIFICATE: WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts pop culture store has honored a 25-year-old gift certificate.
Sierra Wales, assistant manager at That’s Entertainment in Worcester, says a longtime customer recently brought in the $10 gift certificate bought in 1989.
The gift certificate had been sitting in a drawer for years. The customer had been meaning to bring it in for some time and finally remembered over the Fourth of July weekend.
She noted that the gift certificate was older than most employees and had actually been bought at the store’s old location.
The customer used it to buy a graphic novel.
The 34-year-old business sells comic books, graphic novels, toys, sports memorabilia, music and other pop culture items.
Wales says, “When we say it never expires, we really mean it.”
CALIFORNIA GUARD JAILED DURING SEX INVESTIGATION: KINGSBURG (AP) — A guard at Avenal State Prison is in jail after being arrested in an investigation of sex crimes involving two teenage girls.
Online records show 39-year-old Chad Jerome Shaddon of Kingsburg was booked Monday into Fresno County Jail on suspicion of two offenses.
Kingsburg Police Sgt. Hardin Weaver says Shaddon posted bail after he was arrested Friday on suspicion of misconduct with a 15-year-old girl. He was arrested again Monday after a 14-year-old girl came forward with a similar complaint.
The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says Shaddon was put on administrative leave Monday for leaving the prison without permission.
GROWING CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE BRINGS NEW EVACUATIONS: REDDING (AP) — A wildfire in Northern California that authorities say was sparked by exhaust from a truck at a marijuana cultivation site prompted new evacuations on Monday as it kept growing.
It was not immediately clear how many homes were included in the new evacuation order in the rural community of Igo in Shasta County.
Fire officials said the Bully Fire, which started on Friday, was threatening 15 homes after destroying eight homes and 10 other structures. It had burned through 4,700 acres, or more than seven square miles, and was 15 percent contained.
Fire crews have been hampered by steep terrain and dry conditions. Temperatures were expected to climb to 108 degrees on Monday, state fire spokeswoman Teresa Rea said.
About 100 additional firefighters were called in overnight, bringing total personnel on the scene to more than 1,80