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Fate of grizzly bear to be decided

April 23, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Predators in Action Inc. trains exotic animals such as lions, tigers and leopards for films and photo shoots, but during one of the usual training sessions, a bear attacked the trainer.Cal OSHA has joined the investigation into a deadly bear attack in the San Bernardino Mountains. The San Bernardino County Fire Department said a bear attack call came in around 2:40 p.m. from Predators in Action, Inc., at 43676 Eagle Rd.

According to authorities, four different handlers were working with the animal, a 5-year-old grizzly bear named Rocky. Rocky was responding to all of his cues, doing exactly what he was supposed to do, when suddenly it turned on the handler and bit him on the neck, killing him. There are no plans presently to euthanize the bear.

After the attack, trainers were able to subdue the animal using pepper spray, and the bear went calmly back into its enclosure.

The trainer, 39-year-old Stephan Miller from Canyon Country, died at the scene.

Rocky is 7-and-a-half feet tall, weighs 700 pounds and has appeared in a scene in "Semi-Pro" in which Will Ferrell's character wrestles a bear to promote his basketball team.

Sources said that in the past few weeks, the bear had been acting more aggressively.

"He's busted the cages a couple times, and the last time I talked to Randy, he had a welder up there, and they were rewelding the cages, reinforcing them," said the victim's friend Jeff Foster.

The Department of Fish and Game will decide the bear's fate after an investigation. In the past, usually the animal is put to sleep.

The Web site for Predators In Action, Inc., which was no longer online on Wednesday morning, had described itself as having "a perfect safety record with absolutely no accidents or mishaps," but now they are dealing with a fatality.

 

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