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Fate of grizzly bear to be decided

April 23, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The animal trainer killed near big bear died within minutes of being bitten, according to an autopsy.The autopsy found that Stephen Miller had multiple neck injuries consistent with a single bite. The bear's owner has said from the beginning that Rocky was being playful and affectionate, and that Miller's death was accidental.

In the meantime, the state Department of Industrial Relations is now investigating the death.

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.

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 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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