The Oregon attack victim who was killed by a sanctuary cougar was concerned about the facility’s safety. She had uttered numerous concerns about the safety procedures at the facility, her mother stated on Monday.
Renee Radziwon of Portland, OR was killed Saturday evening while she was cleaning an enclosure for cougars at the WildCat Haven in Sherwood, OR. The 36-year-old was a wife and a new mother. She had been employed as an animal medical technician and she had been the main animal keeper at the preserve for about the last eight years.
Carol Radziwon, Renee’s mother, stated that there were no other individuals there to help her daughter. She stated that there was nobody else at the sanctuary and that her daughter had been left completely by herself.
The facility said in a released statement that the Oregon resident had appeared to have broken the preserve rules by going in and being alone while inside the enclosure.
The Clackamas County sheriff’s office also stated on Monday that it was done looking at the attack and decided that no crime had happened which needed to be examined in more detail.
The agency report stated that the owner of the WildCat Haven, Michael Tuller, found Renee Radziwon lying on her back and covered in blood. She was inside the cougar enclosure around 7:05 p.m. Saturday evening. Tuller dragged the woman by her boots over to a safe entry-way and proceeded to dial up 911.
Tuller explained to the police that Radziwon was by herself at the reservation because he and his wife Cheryl Tuller, who is the executive director of the sanctuary, had gone to visit another piece of property in Oregon. They had planned to move the sanctuary to this area in the near future.
Officers and Oregon State Police that responded to the scene discovered one cougar moving around without restrictions inside a central enclosure. It had a tiny amount of blood on top of its nose. There was a second cougar located within another cage.
An autopsy was performed on Renee Radziwon and the results showed that she died on-scene of several bite wounds which were all over her neck and head.
The sheriff’s office believes that only one of the two cougars was involved in killing the woman.
The Oregon sanctuary explained that its rules always state for two trained workers to be inside of an enclosure holding the animals. Renee Radziwon was unaccompanied when she was with the two animals. The facility handbook also states that any member of the staff can go into an enclosure to do any repairs or to clean up only when the animals have been locked out.
Carol Radziwon stated that Renee was always extremely careful when she was around the animals and would not have broken any of the rules. This is due to her having written some of them herself when she began working at WildCat Haven. The preserve is considered nonprofit and it rescues wild animals such as bobcats, tigers, hybrids, cougars and other wild cats. Cougars are around the size of big dogs and are natural born to the American West.
Renee Radziwon moved to Oregon from Philadelphia. She leaves behind a spouse and baby daughter which is 5 months old. Aaron Chapman, who is Renee’s husband, has set up a webpage for online donations for the baby.
Chapman explains that his wife was a loving wife and mother. She was also a dedicated advocate for animals. He states that her life was taken away very suddenly and in a heartbreaking way while she was doing the thing that she cared most about. She loved to tend and care for the wild cats.
It is truly tragic that this woman became a victim, killed by something she loved so much, one of the sanctuary cougars.
By Kimberly Ruble
Remembering Renee and for Noa’s Future