Fatal Bear Mauling Results in Fines

    May 1, 2013
    Sean Patterson
    Comments are off for this post.

In November 2012, a Montana animal trainer was mauled and killed by a bear while cleaning its cage. 24-year-old Benjamin Cloutier was an animal trainer at Animals of Montana, which trains animals for photography, TV, and Movies.

Now, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is issuing fines against Animals of Montana in connection with the incident. In particular, the business has been cited for “allowing employees to have unrestricted, direct contact with grizzly bears.” OSHA has also cited Animals of Montana for a violation related to failing “to report an occupational fatality within eight hours.” The citations carry $9,000 in fines.

“This is a tragedy that could have – and should have – been prevented,” said Jeff Funke, OSHA’s Billings-area director. “The use of a secondary holding area while cleaning cages is standard practice when working with animals capable of being dangerous to workers responsible for their care.”

According to its website, Animals of Montana prides itself in over 20 years of experience raising and training animals. The Facebook post below shows the bear, named Griz, that was responsible for the attack on Cloutier. Griz was put down immediately following the incident.

Animals of Montana, Inc.

Happy Weekend to all! Troy and “Griz” sharing some quality time together :)

  • Kath

    while it IS tragic that a man/woman/handler was killed, it wasn’t the bear’s fault! Why put an animal down for being an animal?

  • megh

    So TIRED of people who put down animals that are being animals and SHOULD not be in these cages and being TRAINED to do all sorts of un-natural behaviors so the human race can go OO! and AA! We are so pathetic and extremely selfish . It is not as if the animal went on a rampage the trainer was clearly to blame. Why are these places not armed with tranquilizer guns …

  • ginger k rapien

    If the company had taken the proper precautions both deaths could have been prevented. why do animals have to suffer for humans stupidity and greed.

  • mc

    The handler knew the risks and lost his life! Griz was just being a bear. The state officials are just trying to steal more money for the state’s coffers, $9,000 in fines…REALLY?! A life (human or animal) is worth more.

  • http://Carbonite Kenny D

    Mmmm Mmmm I just love a good bear steak !

  • http://google Jan

    It is all well and good to blame the person, but you must remember, bears, as well as wolves, mountain lions etc. are predators and they seek those they feel are acceptable prey. Just so happens mankind is one of those acceptable prey, along with deer, elk, moose, etc. When you have a predator who will invade your home if they so desire, my sympathies are somewhat tempered as to who is to blame.