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The North Carolina Department of Labor on Thursday fined an animal conservation center a total of $3,000 after an intern was killed by a lion during a routine cleaning, according to three separate serious citations.
The department’s occupational safety and health inspection of Burlington, North Carolina-based Conservators Center Inc. began on Jan. 3, 2019, after the deadly incident in which it was found that the “lion was not adequately closed and secured due to ineffective procedures which resulted in the lion escaping,” according to one $1,000 citation alleging that the nonprofit center “did not furnish to each of (its) employees conditions of employment and a place of employment free from recognized hazards that were causing or were likely to cause death or serious injury.”
A second serious citation with a fine of $1,000 alleges in a separate incident in December 2018 that the lion was not contained and an employee was exposed to being bit by the lion. A third $1,000, serious citation alleges that the facility had an “inadequate response plan.”
The Conservators Center, where officials could not immediately be reached for comment, has 15 working days from receipt of the citation to request an informal conference with the Labor Department, to file a notice of contest with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission of North Carolina or to pay the penalty, according to a statement from the department.
A 22-year-old intern was killed at a North Carolina animal conservatory when a lion escaped an enclosure and attacked her.