SCARED zoo-keeper begged her boss not to be left alone with DANGEROUS wild cats the day before they attacked and killed her

You know… when an experienced animal handler says she is afraid to be alone with some big cats, you should listen. If the owner had, perhaps this young mother would still be alive today. She texted her boss the day before her death saying she feared to be alone with some dangerous cougars. The next day, they found her body in the enclosure with two cougars walking around. For the woman it was a deadly mistake… for the big cats, it was fast food.

Trouble: An investigation found the sanctuary violated its two-person safety procedure by allowing employees to work alone with the wild cats on a frequent basis. A cougar that lives at WildCat Haven is seen here in 2011.

From the Daily Mail:

The estate of a young woman who was mauled to death by a cougar while working at a wild-cat sanctuary in suburban Portland is suing the sanctuary and its owners.

The lawsuit against WildCat Haven and owners Michael and Cheryl Tuller alleges the sanctuary is liable for the death of Renee Radziwon-Chapman because she was left alone with the animals despite expressing concerns about working solo.

The 36-year-old animal keeper was found dead inside the animals’ enclosure in November 2013, with two cougars roaming freely near her. She had been working at the sanctuary for eight years. Investigators say it was likely she was cleaning the enclosure when she was attacked and killed.

Her family claim she sent a text message to the zoo’s co-owner expressing her fears about working alone with the animals a day before her death.

The lawsuit was filed last week in Multnomah County District Court.

Radziwon-Chapman’s estate seeks $6 million in damages for wrongful death, ultrahazardous or abnormally dangerous activity, intentional misconduct, employers’ liability law, and violations of the Oregon Safe Employment Act.


After Radziwon-Chapman’s death, her mother Carol Radziwon had told The Associated Press the young woman had expressed concerns about safety measures at the facility.

According to the lawsuit, Radziwon-Chapman had worked alone at the sanctuary the day of her death, as well as the day before. It says the keeper sent a text message to co-owner Cheryl Tuller the day before her death expressing concerns about working solo with the animals.

‘Tuller reassured her that she would not be left alone with the cats, which would be a violation of WildCat Haven’s protocols, both written and oral,’ the lawsuit says.

The sanctuary’s protocol calls for two qualified workers inside an enclosure containing animals.

Despite the protocols and Radziwon-Chapman’s concerns, the suit says that on November 9, both the sanctuary owners and another employee who usually worked with the head keeper were not present at the facility — they were working at another property in another county, where the Tullers plan to eventually move the sanctuary.

The lawsuit says Michael Tuller ‘intentionally instructed’ the keeper to work in the cages alone with the animals, in violation of the sanctuary’s protocols.

The lawsuit also says WildCat Haven failed to maintain adequate locks on the doors to the cages of the wildcats and that the gate did not latch properly.

I don’t blame the family for suing for six million. She had a little baby and this could have been prevented. Big cats normally won’t attack two humans, but one indicates weakness, especially when you have more than one cat. These are smart predators and they knew her routine. She had been with the preserve for eight years and her boss had assured her someone would be with her. But they were busy getting ready to move to a new location. For blatant endangerment, this preserve should be closed. I know it is not open to the public and is only for private donors, but it represents a significant danger to the workers and the public. Six million won’t bring her back, but it will take care of her little one. I never thought I’d say this, but for once, I agree with OSHA – shut it down.

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton is an editor and writer for Right Wing News. She owns and blogs at She is a Constitutional Conservative and NoisyRoom focuses on political and national issues of interest to the American public. Terresa is the editor at Trevor Loudon's site, New Zeal - She also does research at You can email Terresa here. NoisyRoom can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

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