Woman killed by cougar at wildcat sanctuary in Sherwood

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by KGW.com Staff

KREM.com

Posted on November 11, 2013 at 6:56 AM

SHERWOOD, Ore. -- An Animal Care Technician was killed by a cougar Saturday night at the WildCat Haven Sanctuary near Sherwood, deputies said.

Renee Radziwon, 36, died from injuries "consistent with what would be from a wild animal" around 7 p.m. at the no-kill large-cat haven in the 31000 block of Heater Road, said Sgt. Robert Wurpes with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

Emergency crews were called to the sanctuary after reports someone inside an enclosure had been bitten by a cat, but they could not enter the cage because of the large cats that were still inside, Wurpes said

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue crews set up a staging area until their safety could be ensured to get to Radziwon.

All of the cats were reportedly put back in their cages, and none of them was tranquilized or euthanized, according to Deputy Mark Nikolai with the Clackamas county Sheriff's Office.

Authorities said there was no danger to the public because the animals are kept in heavily fenced areas.

According to the sanctuary, its handbook specifies that "two qualified staff members shall work together during the lock out of dangerous animals." The shelter said it believed Radziwon was alone in the sanctuary.

According to the organization's website, the sanctuary is a "last hope" for captive-born wildcats in need. The sanctuary houses tigers, mountain lions, lynx, bobcats and other large cats.

On Sunday, Wildcat Haven Sanctuary put a statement on its website.

“Right now, our thoughts and prayers are with the family of our dear colleague and friend who we have so sadly lost,” said Executive Director Cheryl Tuller. “We are devastated by this loss. Not only was she one of our most dedicated staff members, we thought of her as family. We send our most heartfelt prayers to those she has left behind.”

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