Zoo Wars -Exposing the news about the tragic death of Renee Radziwon-Chapman at CatHaven -GFAS and ASA accredited and approved approved NFP sanctuary

I find the response of the owners of Cat Haven Sanctuary and GFAS /HSUS totally unacceptable yet near humorous. Maybe I’d considerate it as hilarious if it wasn’t for one very important aspect of what happened; the loss of human life -a woman was mauled to death.

It boggles the mind that members of GFAS/HSUS and joined by animal rights extremists/terrorists went for an all out assault and attack on GW Exotic Park for a recent incident that involved a breach of protocol and not the fault of the park or improper protocol in place…Even to the extent of filing complaints to the USDA/APHIS to take the park’s license. Well now isn’t it interesting that no one died at GW Park and they made it out as if someone had and now that there is a death at an animal rights supported, GFAS/HSUS SCAM-tuary that they actually have the gall to overlook the death, then put blame on the poor woman who lost her life; no matter that it wasn’t her fault in the least-I hope her family files a wrongful death suit as it’s obvious to myself and others who support animal welfare, that the owners put her directly in harms way and had been doing it for some time. The chips have fallen and it ain’t pretty folks as more of the truth surfaces about this fatality (might as well call it what it is) and how Cat Haven never followed proper protocol. Frankly, it was just a matter of time until this would happen.

I’m not an arm chair busybody without experience. I have more than 2 decades with big cats, currently, in retirement, and more of what anyone would call an expert, having developed a behavior modification for training these great beasts. Studying these types of animals in depth requires basic knowledge of the animals and setting proper protocols for safety of anyone coming in contact with the animals. No one was ever allowed to come near a single animal without a responsible person who was in charge and clearly was not the case at Cat Haven. GW Park has experienced team leaders. There was a momentary breach in protocol at GW Park which led to the unfortunate bite, which is what it really was…However, what happened at Cat Haven, with a worker left alone by the owners was not uncommon or unusual for them to have done so-contact with the animals seems to have also been in play all along as revealed by the pictures. Proper protocols are set up with a reason  and owner neglect of the animals and the people who worked there is UNEXCUSABLE with the loss of human life.

What actually happened and which cat, if not both cats, will never be known but what we do know is that the owner has attempted to blame the now deceased  with a big cover-up is in progress and GFAS/HSUS now blaming Private Exotic Ownership as the problem that led to this death; when it couldn’t be further the truth.

Even BCR (Big Cat Rescue/Easy Street -owner Carole Baskin) has joined in proclaiming their own safety methods however BCR also uses 4 inch wire, just as GW Park so a similar incident as what happened at GW Park could happen there as well; accidents are always humane error, make no mistake about it. Big Cat Rescue claiming it’s protocol as superior to any other is ludicrous to say the least and has joined in blaming Private Exotic Animal Ownership as the problem and could not be further from the truth. Before BCR became what it is today, like most of these sanctuaries (SCAM-tuaries) they were private owners however it is a know fact that Carole Baskin had no protocol while allowing people to sleep UNSUPERVISED with big cats and wild cats in a rented cabin…Seems the only protocol in place was to make sure the guest signed a liability release form -numerous accidents occurred when the name of Big Cat Rescue was Easy Street with numerous incidents; more than any other private owner would have ever had and most not having any incident what-so ever…It’s called RESPONSIBLE EXOTIC ANIMAL OWNERSHIP!!! Not stating as fact that the owner of Cat Haven was responsible is about as reckless as it can get. More than just the protocol of Cat Haven needs to be reviewed but that of all these SCAM-tuaries, especially GFAS/HSUS verified and accredited, and obviously they are not following their own protocol must be examined long before any law banning private exotic animal ownership in favor of SCAM-tuary care should be considered  -I believe more accidents and the possibility of accidents will be found at these so called sanctuaries than private owners, that proper protocol is not in place or at the very least, followed and that private ownership is a lot more responsible than SCAN-tuaries with their hand out begging for money as  they STEAL animals from their rightful owners which is a complete desecration of the constitution, both state and federal…just the very nature of it!!!

Article after article seems to ignore this was a mauling as it most certainly was more that a bite!!! Let’s take a good look at the facts as they have been presented to the media as well as by the media. For the record, I strongly believe that for the most part, the media supports GFAS/HSUS animal sanctuaries and against Private Exotic Animal Ownership although sanctuary owners ARE Private Exotic Animal Owners themselves and these ‘sanctuaries’ are NOT what seem to be or imply that they are-far from it in truth.

Most of the owners of these places have found a way to get the public to support their animals and supply them with a salary…the singular cougar being blamed for the mauling could have easily been raised by this zoo, errrrr, I mean SCAM-tuary…But there were two cougars in that cage and no way of knowing what actually occurred that unfortunate day but what we do know is a single volunteer was left alone on the property to provide for the animals in resident animals there and without supervision.

Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue owned by convicted bank felon, Jeff Kozlowski, and support by FCF, did the same a few years back and was found to have been at fault for the accident that occurred there-this ain’t rocket science people. The most recent incidents are being used to push for laws that will to stop all Private Exotic Animal Ownership in this country and promotes the animal rights extreme agenda to end all animal ownership and as this blog and others have pointed out, it’s more than just exotic animal ownership that is being scrutinized…What I haven’t seen in a single article is the support of Private Exotic Animal Ownership-why is that?!?

The following is more of what the media has presented than what is already in this blog:

The following article is one of the poorest and non factual articles I have ever read, except maybe the title. Yet it was published by the associated press-go figure-with people believing the writings of this reporter (if that’s what you want to call her) with fallacies in just about every sentence of the article) The USDA/APHIS inspectors lists the animals on inspection reports (can be found on the Internet) and the number of animals held at a particular facility…one would only need to do a quick data sheet to come up with accurate numbers and where the animals are being held.

From this article: “Experts say proposed national legislation that would prohibit the private possession and breeding of big cats could further reduce the need for sanctuaries and the number of attacks on humans.” This of course would end ownership all together, lessen the gene pool and put these great animals at risk of extension altogether. Baskin supports this nonsense in order to gain control over these animals as she continues with her plight against ownership-and her revenge on the other owners Oh yes, she’s hated alright and people who didn’t hate her before she became BCR most certainly do now-if they don’t, they will as she broadens her attacks even against fellow GFAS/HSUS associates…Carole Baskin is the last person who should ever be considered an expert!!! Owner of a hate site on the Internet with attacks on just about every Private Owner in the country-There no logic in her reason for  smearing a reputation of a longstanding animal owners-filled with lies and contempt, Baskin needs to be disregarded…She is NO EXPERT of anything!!! Much of her lies and attacks on others are already published on this blog…and much of it all can be found here: http://911animalabuse.org/Big-Cat-Rescue-News.php Baskin claims that she is doing community service with she site  when it’s slanted and promotes abusing Private Exotic Animal Owners and far from truthful.

Patty Finch with GFAS claims that CatHaven had great safety protocol in place [I highlighted that part of the article] REALLY?!?-SERIOUSLY?!?! Then if it was so great then why are we seeing a volunteer has been mauled there?!? Oh, I see, they can only approach the cage when two are present-so why did the owners leave only one worker to care for the animals at the facility if they were following their own protocol?!?-Seems to me the protocol followed was not to follow the protocol…useless words on an empty piece of paper-the truth exposed in yet another article…


Attacks, deaths rampant at wild cat sanctuaries

Over the past few decades, as an exotic pet trade boomed and Americans bought cute tiger cubs and baby monkeys, sanctuaries sprang up across the nation to take care of the animals that were abandoned when they reached adult-size or were no longer wanted.

The growth in both the number of wild cats as pets and the sanctuaries that rescued them has led to attacks.

Since 1990, more than 20 people have been killed by captive big wild cats at sanctuaries, zoos and private residences, more than 200 people have been mauled and 200-plus wild cats have escaped, according to one of the nation’s largest wild cat sanctuaries.

The latest death is head keeper Renee Radziwon-Chapman, 36, who was killed by a cougar at an Oregon sanctuary last week.

Experts say that because sanctuaries are largely unregulated and anyone can open one, there are no uniform safety protocols. And over-confidence or human error can lead to tragic consequences even among the most experienced of caretakers.

“It’s a risky business when you’re dealing with dangerous wild animals. You can’t leave any room for error,” said Vernon Weir, director of the Nevada-based American Sanctuary Association which certifies sanctuaries.

For decades, exotic animals have been imported into the U.S. and openly bred for the pet trade. Despite new laws that limit the trade in some states, people can easily buy an African rodent, a chimpanzee, or a baby leopard at a flea market or over the Internet.

Experts estimate the U.S. exotic pet trade is a multibillion-dollar industry. Hundreds of sanctuaries have opened throughout the U.S.

About 80 sanctuaries currently house big cats, the International Fund for Animal Welfare says. Only a dozen of them are certified or verified by two certifying organizations, the American Sanctuary Association and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.

There’s little governmental oversight. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which enforces the federal Animal Welfare Act, licenses facilities that exhibit animals — whether domestic or wild — or do research. And the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tracks endangered species when they are bought and sold across state or U.S. borders and issues permits to facilities moving animals across state lines.

But neither agency keeps a tally on facilities or the total number of wild animals that are housed.

And no one sets rules for how sanctuaries operate.

As a result, safety procedures meant to protect staff and animals vary. Most sanctuaries develop their own protocols. The two certifying associations require safety standards, but in most cases don’t define specific rules.

WildCat Haven, the Sherwood, Ore., sanctuary where the head keeper was killed on Nov. 9, was “verified” by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. Verification means the sanctuary satisfied 60 different standards, including safety.

The organization recommends “redundancy” when it comes to safety, its executive director Patty Finch said, meaning two lockout doors or two staff members present. “It won’t eliminate the risk factor, but can certainly reduce it,” Finch said.

Still, she said, risk is inherent in the job. “You can have the best protocols in the world and something can still go wrong.”

WildCat Haven has good safety rules in place, Finch said.

Its safety manual specifies that a staff member can enter the main enclosure to clean or make repairs only after the animals are locked away in a smaller cage. Two people must be present when animals are locked up. And a caretaker can’t be alone with an animal in the same space.

Sanctuary officials said Radziwon-Chapman apparently broke those rules: she worked alone, locked only one of three cougars in the smaller cage, and went into the main enclosure with the other two cougars.

The woman’s family said they don’t believe the wife and new mother broke any rules, and she had expressed concerns about working alone just days before the attack.

[For more follow the link-I don’t believe I have to spoon fed you and I certainly don’t like mudding up my blog with this load of crap!!! Especially quoting Baskin who for years had no protocol beyond has a liability release signed and likely continues to conduct business the same.]

Just the title of this next article makes me want to puke in my mouth a bit…but seems this is a longer version from the Associated press report already posted above…Maybe not so many reporters writing these articles as a new twist on an older article…

Exotic pet trade fuels growth in wild cat sanctuaries, leads to increase in mauling, deaths

WildCat Haven Sanctuary death: Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries will conduct review

After a fatal cougar attack that left a WildCat Haven employee dead, the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries plans to review the rural Sherwood sanctuary’s protocols, training and staffing, according to a press release.

Renee Radziwon-Chapman, the haven’s head keeper for eight years, died from cougar bites while apparently cleaning a cage alone on Nov. 9.

“We are first letting everyone involved have time to grieve,” said Executive Director Patty Finch in the release. She said her organization’s review, similar to one to be conducted by the nonprofit wildlife education group Outreach for Animals, will also focus on helping the haven employees find the strength to move on.

The American Sanctuary Association and GFAS have both accredited WildCat Haven. GFAS visited WildCat Haven in May 2012 and “verified” the organization in September 2012.

WildCat Haven, founded in 2001, houses about 60 wildcats born in  captivity, including bobcats, tigers and cougars. GFAS calls it a “true sanctuary,” meaning it does not buy, sell, kill or exhibit animals to the public, although it has allowed donor  visits.

Finch told the Associated Press that verification means the organization had good safety rules in place and met 60 standards, including for safety. The standards are listed under “felids” at the organization’s website.

Cheryl Tuller, runs Wildcat Haven in Sherwood. She rescues captive-born wildcats that don t have any other place to find shelter. She is with Charlie, a 5-month-old cougar.The Oregonian/2003

WildCat Haven has said in statements that its rules call for two qualified staff members to move wildcats to a lockout area before cleaning. Radziwon-Chapman’s mother told The Oregonian that her daughter had raised concerns about being left alone at the sanctuary. A former WildCat Haven Sanctuary board member said Radziwon-Chapman and the sanctuary owners have entered animal cages alone

“Regardless of what the particular facts in this case prove to be, everyone recognizes that the best policies and procedures in the world can’t eliminate human error,” said Finch.

Finch said losing Radziwon-Chapman was heartbreaking for the sanctuary founders, Cheryl and Michael Tuller.

“No one who has listened to the 911 call, and listened to Mike Tuller ignore directions to not go in the enclosure to get Renee Radziwon-Chapman, can question that,” Finch said.

Pay close attention to just the headline to the next article as the TRUTH surfaces!!!

Ex-WildCat Haven worker: Many of us went into cougar cage alone

A former worker at the wild cat sanctuary where a keeper was killed  in a cougar attack last weekend said he’s outraged that the directors have accused her of breaking the rules and he wanted to speak out to help clear her name.

Derek Vail spent five years as a volunteer at WildCat Haven where Renee Radziwon-Chapman, 36, died Saturday after being attacked by a cougar inside an enclosure at the sanctuary. She was the head keeper.

The sanctuary released a statement after the deadly attack that said Radziwon-Chapman had violated strict protocol by going into the enclosure alone.  It quoted a section of the facility’s handbook, which states: “Two qualified staff members shall work together during the lock out of dangerous animals.”

However, Vail said that during his five years as a volunteer at the sanctuary, the owners never enforced that policy and often gave approval for  workers to go inside alone, including he and Radziwon-Chapman.  He  showed KGW photos taken of him with the cougars and said he felt safe when  he was inside the enclosures.

“It’s morally reprehensible they are blaming her,” Vail said.  “Renee cleaned the cages alone for years and so did other volunteers.”

When asked what he thought may have triggered the deadly attack on his former co-worker, Vail said,  “I don’t know what happened, but I know what didn’t happen:  I know Renee did not go in there and violate a bunch of safety protocols.”

Vail added that he’s very familiar with the whole operation at WildCat Haven.  He even helped build some of the cages and enjoyed getting close to the cats.

“I felt honored to be that close to God’s creatures,” he said. A large tattoo on his right arm of one of the cats serves as a constant reminder of his days at the sanctuary.

The facility in Sherwood, run by Michael and Cheryl Tuller, is a “no-kill, last hope” sanctuary for captive-born wild cats, including tigers, bobcats, lynx and cougars.

Vail said he understands that WildCat Haven may face legal problems if   they admit protocols were lax, and he would hate to see their work with   animals impacted.

But he wants to protect the memory of Renee for her  6-month-old daughter, who will only know her through  pictures and  stories.

“She was one of the finest human beings I have ever met in my entire life.  She loved animals. She was always working hard and never would have violated any safety protocols,” Vail said. “When I think of her, I still can’t believe she’s gone.”

The Tullers have not spoken publicly since the deadly attack. But they described Renee as a dear friend in a written statement that included this quote from 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.”

A 911 call obtained by KGW Wednesday shows the measures that Michael Tuller took to try and save Radziwon-Chapman after he spotted her body in the enclosure.

911 call: Desperate panic followed cougar attack

When Vail started volunteering at the WildCat Haven animal sanctuary in Sherwood, he did so as therapy to try and heal from the death of his young son. Little Nicholas developed a brain ailment and died at just 6 years old.

Now, talking about Renee helps him come to terms with the loss of a former co-worker who grew to become his good friend.

“I’m so upset that my friend was killed. I loved my time at the WildCat Haven, but I think speaking the truth is the most important,” he said.

Vail said he volunteered at WildCat Haven for 5 years, which is where  he met Renee. She taught him how to work with cats and her husband was even the pastor at his wedding.

“I am praying for her husband and her mom and her family,” he said. “She was a wonderful person.”

KGW reached out to the owners of the sanctuary for a comment on these new claims.  They have not returned the calls.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are both currently conducting formal investigations into Radziwon-Chapman’s death.

WildCat Haven also hired a specialist in exotic captive animal programs to study safety procedures and audit the facility.
Next the statement from GFAS/HSUS that has my head spinning over the hypocrisy!!!! These people put out a statement on how their hearts go out over the tragedy and turn around and blame Private Exotic Animal Owners for this tragedy-DO they think that Senators and Representatives are so stupid as to buy into this?!? What about the American public who want an explanation as to how the owners can leave a SINGLE volunteer alone with animals to get a job done and blame this on her for her own death!?! -BULLSHIT at it’s finest!!! The owners of this facility knowingly went against their own protocol by leaving her there ALONE to get they job done-HELLO!!! Most Private Exotic Animal Owners and the public already know the truth of the matter for WHAT IT IS!!!-IT IS WHAT IT IS!!!

I guess Finch missed the previous article…

There is no way to blame anyone accept themselves and we should be blaming GFAS/HSUS for this to have occurred -GFAS/HSUS for “verifying and accrediting” this place…Maybe Pacelle and Finch should review these places before accepting the fee to join in on the animal rights extremists agenda-ya think?!? After all, money can not buy safety…Taking away animals from their longstanding owners can not/will not change the facts in this most tragic accident or any that will happen in the future. The dead can not speak for themselves but we most certainly can attempt to speak for them and expose statements like this from GFAS/HSUS for what it’s worth-useless crap not worth the paper it’s written on.

The only truth is the first paragraph-Renee was dearly loved and dearly loved the animals she cared for-RIP!!!


Washington, DC – “Our hearts go out to everyone who is grieving the tragic loss of Renee Radziwon-Chapman,” states Patty Finch, Executive Director of Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS). “She was obviously dearly loved and a person greatly admired. Her love for her family, friends, and animals could not have been greater.”

At any facility, something can go wrong. Clearly in this case, something went terribly wrong.

“Regardless of what the particular facts in this case prove to be,” states Finch, “everyone recognizes that the best policies and procedures in the world can’t eliminate human error. GFAS always stresses redundancy in safety measures. Redundancy still doesn’t guarantee a tragedy won’t happen, but it makes it less likely.”

GFAS verified Wildcat Haven on September 12, 2012. The application for verification was completed in its entirety and the site inspection took place on May 4, 2012. GFAS verification is in effect for a three-year period, based upon the information presented at the time of the application and site visit, which includes interviews with staff.

Verification means that Wildcat Haven meets the criteria of a true sanctuary, including not breeding, selling, or buying wild cats. It also means it is providing humane and responsible care of the animals. To be awarded Verified status, an organization must meet GFAS’s rigorous and peer-reviewed animal care standards which are confirmed by a site visit and they must also adhere to a demanding set of ethical and operational principles.

The loss of Renee Radziwon-Chapman was heartbreaking for the Tullers, the founders of the sanctuary, on a very personal level.

“No one who has listened to the 911 call, and listened to Mike Tuller ignore directions to not go in the enclosure to get Renee Radziwon-Chapman, can question that,” asserts Finch. “This was the death of someone who had become part of the Tuller family. They are grieving at this time, and speaking to the media is not their top priority. This is extremely painful for them.”

No one will work harder than the Tullers to review all their protocols, training and staffing. GFAS will conduct the same kind of review, but like the USDA, we are first letting everyone involved have time to grieve. The focus of GFAS will not only be on the kind of review the Tullers themselves want, but on helping them find the strength to move forward.

As a guest editorial by Peter Laufer, who holds the James Wallace Chair in Journalism at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, pointed out in his article in Oregonlive.com, at http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2013/11/tragedy_underscores_dangers_of.html, this tragedy highlights the need to “to standardize laws across the country restricting wild animal ownership.”

The Big Cats and Public Safety Act has been introduced in both the US House and Senate. This bill would ban private ownership of these dangerous cats and the breeding by private owners. While our immediate focus is on this tragedy and the grieving process, one other fact is clear. Ultimately it is the breeding of these cats into a life of captivity that is to blame for this tragic death. Sanctuaries, relying on public donations, end up paying the price for this needless breeding. Tragically, Renee Radziwon-Chapman paid the ultimate price.

About Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the sole purpose of strengthening and supporting the work of animal sanctuaries, rescues, and rehabilitation centers worldwide. The goal of GFAS in working with and assisting these animal care facilities is to ensure they are supported, honored, recognized and rewarded for meeting important criteria in providing care to the animals in residence. GFAS was founded in 2007 by animal protection leaders from a number of different organizations in response to virtually unchecked and often hidden exploitation of animals for human entertainment and financial profit. The GFAS Board of Directors guides the organization’s work in a collaborative manner. While the board includes those in top leadership at Born Free USA, The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare, the ASPCA, and American Anti-Vivisection Society, all board members serve as individuals dedicated to animal sanctuaries.

Disclaimer connected to this blog…Things said are of my opinion and the opinion of others…Stay tuned -B

~ by topcatsroar on November 17, 2013.

11 Responses to “Zoo Wars -Exposing the news about the tragic death of Renee Radziwon-Chapman at CatHaven -GFAS and ASA accredited and approved approved NFP sanctuary”

  1. So I can get an exotic cat or monkey at a flea market or online? Wow!

    But “everybody knows private owners don’t have any safety protocols in place.” What you have to do, as a non-profit sanctuary blessed by Pacelle and his cronies, is to have something in writing -preferably in an employee manual available for employees to read if they want to- that sets out all the “strict” safety protocols and requirements. In actual practice, like Captain Jack would say, they are more of guidelines… No need to actually follow them as long as you don’t get caught. When the inspectors come around, you clean up your act, and once they are gone, then you go do your thing and quit bellyaching about a silly little thing like “rules.” If you happen to get a finger bit off, we’ll just tell the emergency room folks that a door slammed on it. You’d be surprised how many workers have lost fingers and hands, at accredited sanctuaries and zoos, because of doors slamming on them! You’d also be surprised how many doctors, police officers, and USDA inspectors actually fall for that!

    But when are the public and officials going to wake up to the fact that AZA, GFAS, ASPCA, HSUS, and others are NOT government agencies or even accredited government contractors? They are simply private groups who have gotten IRS recognition and don’t have to pay taxes. They have no more expertise in animal handling and raising than your neighborhood auto mechanic. If you have the money to buy accreditation, they don’t even care if you are an auto mechanic yourself, and will claim you passed their tests with flying colors.

  2. My niece was a beautiful person who loved family, animals,and life. She would have never gone against protocol. We are trying to move on but it is so very difficult. The Tuller’s will spend the rest of their lives knowing they were the cause of her death. Renee would still be with us if they would not have left her alone. All the talk about protocols, they broke their own protocols. They are the reason Renee is dead.

    • I am so sorry for your loss-many are. -B

    • Saddens me she lost her life. I too work in the exotic animal field. Renee and I are the same age. Sadly enough the Tuller’s have zero remorse. I’ve seen them out in public speaking, and it’s like nothing to them. I’m sorry, A life, is everything.

      • Absolutely!!! The loss could have been prevented-I am familiar with the incident-So sad!!!

  3. You can file a civil suit about the breach in protocol as their fault. You might want to consult an attorney-but beware…..there’s a statute of limitations. I am not recommending but not sure if you know your options. A GFAS is HSUS and well capitalized…you might want to discuss with your family and a good attorney. Just FYI and well worth looking into…..

  4. I’m happy to see the family has stepped up and is suing these “hobby level zoo keepers” the Tuller’s are fully responsible for the death.

  5. This $CAMtuary is located in my state.


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