Grizzly Bites Man, Lives

Grizzly Cub (photo by Jean-Guy Dallaire)

Is everyone following this story? I caught it yesterday in the LA Times. Rocky, a massive, trained grizzly under the care of Predators In Action, bit and killed his trainer, Stephan Miller. Predators In Action is, of course, the Show Biz animal training facility that specializes in bears and big cats. Miller was working with the bear, putting him through a series of repetitive training moves when the bear just went, “chomp” and Miller was dead within minutes.

What’s fascinating to me is in today’s follow-up, in which Miller’s co-workers insist that Rocky should not be killed. As horrible as the tragedy is, and as traumatic it must have been for the other trainers on the scene, they point out that it’s the risk that they all take.

These are wild animals, they say, not Beanie Babies.

It would be easy to fall into the punitive trap and execute the bear, but it seems that there’s a healthy resistance to that among the people who knew Miller. Of course, it goes without saying, Rocky’s career in pictures is probably finished. I mean, imagine if Ben Affleck killed Michael Bay with a quick bite to the neck. Even in play, that would but a dent in his career (note: the analogy ends there, because I dunno how many people would jump in front of the firing squad.)

If the Grizzly is, in fact, spared he’ll probably wind up in a zoo. And that’s probably okay. But I wonder what people think? Should Rocky live or die? What if the person on the receiving end of that bite had been your friend or lover or co-worker?

Photo credit: Jean-Guy Dallaire

10 Replies to “Grizzly Bites Man, Lives”

  1. If only Michael Bay would get a bite to the neck. Hmmm, my husband is from Transylvania…maybe I should get him into pictures.

    Focus! I have no opinion on the bear. I don’t know why people are so ready to kill animals who kill trainers, but it seems to be the done thing. I think the trainers who work with these animals probably know best and everyone outside is just being reactionary. I’ll never understand humanity’s kneejerk revenge killing behavior.

  2. The bear was just being a bear, and doing the things a bear does. Killing that animal because it was acting naturally is about as wrong as forcing them to perform in movies in the first place.

    They should let the bear live out its life in some kind of preserve with other bears.

  3. We let Mike Tyson live, didn’t we? (Or someone did. Not me.)

    I agree with the Wil/ls above me. He’s just being a bear. He should be put in a preserve or a zoo or somewhere really good, but not so he can talk to any other of the trained bears, because they’re all gonna want to take the bite-your-trainer-and-retire plan.

    Kidding aside, it’s a tragic event for the trainer, but I am glad that the other trainers agree that the bear shouldn’t be killed.

  4. I’ve heard people wanting the bear “set free” in the wild. I’ve heard people who want the bear dead.

    If those are the only two options, I’d vote for euthanasia because setting a creature free that’s only known captive care all its life is a death sentence in itself albeit a much slower one far more horribly inhumane that results in the bear probably starving and/or getting shot because it just does not know how to function in such a foreign and hostile environment.

    Would destroying the creature accomplish anything? (other than make me find irony in the execution of the very animal that’s on our state flag AND extinct in California)?

    Stephan Miller’s death is a wholly unfortunate tragedy. Let’s not compound it by killing such a magnificent animal. Find it a protected place be it a zoo or a preserve where it can be properly cared for and live in peace.

  5. No, the bear should not be killed, and as everyone else has said, its a bear being a bear. The trainers themselves said it best, that they know the risk of working with wild animals. Unfortunately, that’s a concept not many people get.

    Besides, how is KILLING the bear going to teach it a lesson?

  6. As has already been mentioned, you can’t just dump it in the wild because it won’t know how to survive. And it might be difficult to find a zoo willing to take it, because once an animal has attacked a human, it becomes much more dangerous for humans to deal with. I don’t think anyone seriously wants to kill the bear to teach it a lesson, it’s more a question of what else are you going to do with it.

  7. This isn’t the case of a wild animal getting a taste for human blood, thus requiring the need to track it down and kill it, so I don’t see any justification in putting the animal down.

    Truth is, we should treat this bear like every other killer. Stick it in prison for a few years until it comes up for parole, or overcrowding necessitates an early release. After that, the bear will likely get signed to a label, and crossover back into acting.

    Its the circle of life. In L.A. anyway.

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