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Showbiz grizzly bear kills trainer-stuntman

Bear_2 A 700-pound grizzly bear attacked and killed a Canyon Country man at a compound near Big Bear Lake that trains wild animals for movies and television work.

Times staff writer Paul Pringle reports:

For unknown reasons, the bear lunged at 39-year-old Stephan Miller, a trainer at Randy Miller's Predators in Action, about 3 p.m. Tuesday and bit him in the neck, said sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Beavers. Miller was pronunced dead at the scene.

Miller was a trainer at Predators in Action, a business whose website says the bear appeared in the recent Will Ferrell movie "Semi-Pro." The website also says it has "the best-trained grizzly bears in the business today."

Photo: Christina Bush/Associated Press

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Things always happen for a reason; let's wait before we consider the bear a threat to society....

I find its wrong that they would want to put down the bear in this situation. The trainer has been working with the bear for years and has grown a trust with the animal. Accidents happen when training any wild animal, you can never get the "wild" instinct out of them. the bear should not have to suffer do to human error, or for our enjoyment. He is a wild animal and always will be. The human is to blame in this situation.
Save the Bear he does'nt know any better!!

Man wants to dominate every other man around him. Then he finds out that it is morally wrong to do that, but he continues his quest of total domination. When every other man around him becomes completely submissive he turns to the animal world and attempts to dominate it.. This kind of behavior, without a doubt, is a form of mental incompetence and not in harmony with all living things. All zoos should be closed and the animals returned to their normal habitats so that don't have to live in total misery. Good for the Grizzly!!

A tragic accident that the victim knew very well was a high risk associated with his profession. Call me presumptuous, but I could not conceive that he would ever wish that the bear be blamed (much less killed) as a result of its natural/instinctual behavior.

The bear is innocent. He does not understand what he has done and should not have to lose his life because of this. He has given us a lot and the trainer understood the dangers of his work. I'm sure the trainer would not want the bear to be killed. So sorry about the trainer's death, but he had a choice in this matter. The bear's lilfe was planned by humans. He actually did not have a choice.

Instead of euthanizing the poor bear, why not place him in a sanctuary? People who work with wild animals know that there is danger and choose to so so anyway. It makes me sick to think that the bear is going to pay for the man's stupidity.

I feel the same way about the zoo tiger who was euthanized because he killed someone who most likely was taunting him. It's always the animal that suffers when humans think that they can "rule" over animals.

Yay for the bear!! As humans continue their arrogant disregard for the other animals on this earth, I cheer every time something like this happens. Sadly, it will take many more incidents before the lesson is learned. This guy (and the "Crocodile Hunter") got exactly what he deserved. Now if I can just get a circus elephant to stampede through a crowd, then that would be a REALLY good day!

Go ahead and kill the bear- just post the video on youtube! Thanks!

First off, in response to 'Art de la Garza': You are highly misinformed, and your PETA-esque views are ignorant and poorly thought-out. Have you seen the world lately? What 'habitats' do you plan to return the tens of thousands of captive animals to? Most of these animals are only alive BECAUSE they are in captivity, as their natural habitat has long been decimated by man, and in most cases is unrepairable. Do you think the animals should just be dead and forsaken then, rather than be cared for in captivity?

As far as animal training, and training of behaviors, you also know little of what you speak. The act of training in itself is a form of behavioral enrichment for the animals, and gives them a better life than just sitting in a zoo enclosure. Also, most of the behaviors you see performed by exotic animals mimic natural behaviors they would perform in the wild, only modified to appear differently (i.e. a bear scratching a stump to leave scent in the wild can be trained to use that same scratching motion to mimic a 'wave' to the crowd.) The days of people trying to make a bear ride a bicycle are long past in the eyes of real trainers.

Now, in regards to the article and the incident, I do not think the bear will be euthanized unless the state forces it to happen. The training facility will not want to lose two lives over this tragedy. As to why it happened, I'm sure the trainers have a good idea, but we may never know. Needless to say the bear didn't just up and decide to go crazy and eat someone, and there are many possible reasons as to why the attack happened. Regardless, it is very unfortunate that it happened and my thoughts go out to the family that lost someone very precious to them.

To destroy this bear would be a tragedy. Wild animals trained or not are still wild. The bear by no means did this maliciously. If he can't be used in film anymore he should be placed in a zoo or other facility where he can be adequately cared for while he lives out his natural life. It's our fault as humans for the situations wild animals are in.

Who's kidding who....we celebrate people who work with wild animals and what they do with them (make them submit). And now its a tragedy that something like this happens. We can accept a morality that treats dogs like people and now we fault the bear? Expecting wild animals not to be what they are is simply naive and they shouldn't be killed for being what they are.

I agree. The animal should not be put down. It makes me ill just thinking of such a knee-jerk reaction, taking the life of another creature just for being itself, in an environment he did not ask to be in, which is not his natural environment.

Do not kill this bear. the great spirit reminds man of his place in such instances. the bears are losing ground and they know it. any state that would kill a bear for being a bear is pure EVIL.

What purpose would be served by putting the bear down? Why even think about doing that?

This sounds like local news.

"For unknown reasons," ..........you mean, the fact that he's a wild bear is not a known reason?

"Yay for the bear"? This guy "got what he deserved"? Stephan was a friend of mine and he and Randy loved those animals and treated them with great care and professionalism for two decades. While I respect people's opinions on the pros/cons of confining animals, anyone who cheers a man's death is sub-human and beneath contempt.

LA TIMES, do you have no moderation standards for these comments??? A family is mourning their father and husband today.

Do not kill the bear.

My sympathies go out to the family of Stephan Miller.

A few questions:

1. Did the investigators find out how recently the bear had been fed? I would think the most usual reason why an animal would suddenly go from licking to biting would be hunger.

2. If the neck is the most vulnerable spot on the body for bites, is there some reason why the trainers don't wear protective collars of thick leater with metal plates or spikes?

3. Why do news outlets seldom include pictures or bios of people in the news? Here is a link to a photo and bio:

4. Why doesn't the LA Times screen comments more thoroughly, to prevent remarks like those people who were cheering for the bear, and saying the trainer "got what he deserved"??

To me it is quite simple. As long as humans try to tame wild animals and nature they will die trying. If one were to write a history of these attempts it would fill a library.

This is really a sad situation. This man who sadly died knew exactly the chances he was taking in working with these animals, yet he was obviously willing to take the chance. He probably loved his job and knew exactly what could happen.it was worth it to him obviously. So many things can happen in working with an animal, yet when they do, people get on their high horse and ask for the animal to be put down! what did he do, other than be a bear?? It's like people who move to the mountains and jog in the wild then get killed by a mountain liion and immediately everyone wants to hunt down the lion and kill it. and they do generally!! but who really is at fault there?? The lion, for simply being a lion or the idiot who jogged in "his" home??? let the bear live.

This would be a horrible mistake to kill the bear. It is "our" fault to think that a wild animal can be expected to be as a pet. When we do there are always possibilities that something like this could happen. Why do we provoke this kind of treatment upon caged animals without understanding. We do this for our entertainment and when tragedy strikes it becomes the fault of the animal.

Since this is a wild animal he should be put into his natiural envirorment. Putting this bear down is inhumain. He is a wild animal, so I do agree, that
working with wild animals you are taking a risk no matter how tame they seem.
I do not think anyone would want this animal killed because after all we will
never know what provoked him. AI believe his trainer would not want this for
him also.
Let him go to live the life he is known for.


I,kay grayson,have been training wild black bears in the wild,their habitat for now l7 years. the bears (and other wildlife roam free, it is I who is in the cage ( a hurricane and bear battered vintage house trailer) Bill McKelway at RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, Richmond VA. did a full length story on us-bears Jan l998 My main interest in originally working with the bears was their behavior, and their survival. the bear is an animal we animal lovers/general public know little about due to the criminal activity of the gall bladder and general body partsbunch who until recently has kept the general public in fear of the bear so they wouldnt have opposition to their killing for profit business. I saw and lived this first hand and loath the human killers for their general overall destruction of our wildlife. the black bear is highly intelligent,very emotional, generally gentle and shy of humans and like dogs ,WANTS to be WITH humans. Simply based on what I read on-line regarding Stephans (Miller) mistake I would like to offer some expertise from my experience. the bear wasnt angry otherwise there would have been multiple bites and worse, when the animal was fed had no bearing on; a one quick bite/flash bite is part of the bear's play, its what they do. In the wild when unmolested by the idiots with guns and packs of dogs, then the animals can relax and not worry about immediater survival tactics, the black bear (and most probably the other bear species also) are the clowns of the forest and most comical when not trying to be. I have 8 hours of bears at play on video and biting each other on ears,neck is very common, but of course their bodies are designed to withstand playful bites, our tissue paper hides by comparison cannot. Stephan Miller only mistake was lack of . I live off-the-grid in the middle of hundreds of acres I now own for the animals, so if you wish more info please write snail mail to Kay Grayson PO Box 2522 Manteo, North Carolina 27954

Thanks Kay for sharing with us. I live near the Pyrenees Mountains in France and sadly I must report that hunters killed recently the last native bear. Some were reintroduced from Romania and followed the same fate. I was outraged when they dismissively killed the polar bear that landed in Iceland too. Some people just enjoy a "legal" killing... Well it is prohibited in France, but local authorities are not reliable for this kind of issue. Bears are evolved mammals and should be protected against us. By the way, your explanation for what happened makes sense (dangerous playful behavior).


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