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Oregon Fines Wildlife Sanctuary Following Deadly Cougar Attack

Steve Jurvetson
File photo of a female cougar

The state of Oregon is fining a wildlife sanctuary $5,600 after a cougar attack last fall left its head keeper dead.

State inspectors outlined serious safety violations in a report released Monday.

The report from the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division found that keepers at WildCat Haven southwest of Portland frequently had to work alone. The big-cat rescue shelter had internal protocols that required two staffers on duty whenever someone had to enter the cages. Investigators said that frequently didn’t happen.

They said 36-year-old Renee Radziwon-Chapman was working by herself for the second day in a row when she was fatally mauled by a cougar. The report said Radziwon-Chapman had repeatedly asked the facility's owners for more help to clean the cages and feed the animals.

Investigators also said the pens used substandard latches that aren't appropriate for containing large cougars.

The facility's attorney released a statement saying both of the issues mentioned in the report have been addressed