USDA opens investigation into sanctuary worker's death

SHERWOOD, Ore. - The U.S. Department of Agriculture opened an investigation into the death of a WildCat Haven Sanctuary worker in November.

Renee Radziwon-Chapman died when a cougar attacked her in the enclosure. The sanctuary told KATU last month that only one of the three cougars in the enclosure was secured and its protocol is for two people to put the cougars in a lockout area before cleaning the case.

WildCat Haven has said she violated protocol by entering a cage with two cougars in it by herself. Radziwon's family said they don't believe she broke any rules and she had expressed concerns about working alone just days before the attack.

The USDA investigation could lead to a warning, fine or revocation of the sanctuary's license. Oregon OSHA is also investigating the incident.