Just as She Feared, Cougar Fatally Mauls Caretaker at Sanctuary | Courthouse News Service
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Just as She Feared, Cougar Fatally Mauls Caretaker at Sanctuary

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - The day after a worker at a wild cat sanctuary texted her boss about her fears of being left alone with the animals, a cougar killed her, the woman's family claims in court.

The Estate of Renee Radziwon-Chapman sued Wildcat Haven and its owners Michael and Cheryl Tuller, on Nov. 11 in Multnomah County Court.

Wildcat Haven is in Sherwood, Ore., southwest of Portland. It houses a number of wild cats, including tigers, bobcats and cougars.

Radziwon-Chapman "had voiced on multiple occasions her concerns about being left alone with the wild animals," Radziwon-Chapman's personal representative, Nancy Doty Inc., says in the lawsuit.

It continues: "On Nov. 8, 2013, she sent a text message to defendant Cheryl Tuller, expressing those concerns. "Tuller reassured her that she would not be left alone with the cats, which would be a violation of WildCat Haven Inc.'s protocols, both written and oral."

But the very next day, Radziwon-Chapman "followed the directives of her supervisor, Michael Tuller," and cared for the wild cats by herself in the afternoon. There, she was "attacked, mauled and killed by one or more of the cougars."

Radziwon-Chapman, 36, was married and had a young daughter.

Her 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.

The estate is represented by J. Randolph Pickett with Pickett Dummigan, Todd B. Newlin, both of Portland, and Jeffrey A. Bowersox, of Lake Oswego.

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