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Bear kills animal trainer in Big Bear City

Rocky the bear turned on trainer Stephan Miller, killing him with a bite to the neck. <span class=meta>(KABC)</span>
April 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A bear attacked and killed an animal trainer in Big Bear on Tuesday afternoon.The San Bernardino County Fire Department confirmed a call came in around 2:40 p.m. from Predators in Action, Inc., indicating there was a bear attack.

Sheriff's deputies from the Big Bear Lake Station went to Predators In Action, at 43676 Eagle Rd., responding to a report of an animal attack.

San Bernardino County Fire personnel were first to arrive on scene, where they confirmed the death of a trainer working with a bear.

According to authorities, three trainers were outside the facility in a fenced-in area training a 5-year-old grizzly bear. The bear lunged at one of the trainers and bit him on the neck. The trainer, 39-year-old Stephan Miller from Canyon Country, died at the scene.

Sheriff's Sgt. Dave Phelps said the bear was a 5-year-old male named Rocky. The Predators in Action Web site says Rocky is 7-and-a-half feet tall, weighs 700 pounds and appeared in a scene in "Semi-Pro" in which Will Ferrell's character wrestles a bear to promote his basketball team.

Pepper spray was used to subdue the bear and there were no other injuries. The bear was confined at the animal sanctuary.

The Department of Fish and Game will decide the bear's fate after an investigation, Tiffany Swantek, a spokeswoman for the Big Bear Sheriff's Station, told the San Bernardino Sun Tuesday.

Randy Miller is a stuntman and the operator of Predators in Action. Stephan Miller is Randy's cousin, said San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Beavers.

Predators in Action Inc. trains exotic animals such as lions, tigers and leopards for films and photo shoots. The Web site for the company described itself as having "a perfect safety record with absolutely no accidents or mishaps."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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