SHERWOOD, Ore. — An employee at an exotic cat sanctuary is dead after one of the animals attacked her this weekend. It happened late Saturday at Wildcat Haven in Sherwood, outside of Portland.
Officials say the worker, 36-year-old Renee Radziwon-Chapman, was attacked by a wildcat. Emergency medical workers had a hard time getting to the woman, because other large cats were in the confined area.
Authorities say all of the animals are secure. On its website, Wildcat Haven describes itself as a permanent home for more than 60 big cats, including cougars, bobcats and tigers. The facility is not open to the public.
WildCat Haven released a statement regarding Radiwon-Chapman’s death, saying in part:
WildCat Haven has strict safety protocols to ensure the wellbeing of everyone working at the sanctuary and all the sanctuary’s neighbors. The sanctuary’s handbook specifies that “two qualified staff members shall work together during the lock out of dangerous animals. Once the animals are locked out, one staff member can safely enter the enclosure to clean or make repairs. Two qualified staff members shall be available when releasing animals from lockout areas.” At this time, it is believed that Radziwon-Chapman was alone at the sanctuary and alone in the enclosure with cats, who had not been shifted into the lockout area. Investigation is ongoing.