PORTLAND – An employee killed this weekend by a wildcat at an Oregon animal sanctuary was described as an experienced worker who was comfortable with the animals she cared for, but is believed to have been alone with an animal in the enclosure.
Renee Radziwon, 36, of Portland, died in the Saturday night attack, Deputy Mark Nikolai of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Sunday.
KGW News reported a cougar killed her.
“We are devastated by this loss. Not only was she one of our most dedicated staff members, we thought of her as family,” said Cheryl Tuller, executive director of the WildCat Haven Sanctuary.
Tuller added that Radziwon had been working at the sanctuary as the head keeper for eight years.
The sanctuary is located in the Portland suburb of Sherwood.
In a statement, the sanctuary said it has strict safety protocols ruling the entrance of a person into an enclosure. Its handbook specifies that two qualified staff members be present during the lock-out of a “dangerous” animal.
Sanctuary officials said they believe Radziwon was alone in the enclosure at the time of the attack. Officials said they are still investigating.