A “wildlife casting agency” that provides the services of wild animals to the movie industry and photographers has been cited for two safety violations after one of its employees was mauled to death by grizzly bears last year.
Wildlife casting agency Animals of Montana Inc. was penalized $9,000 for the violations,which include allowing employees to have unrestricted, direct contact with grizzly bears at its Bozeman facility.
The 24-year-old trainer was killed while cleaning the enclosure of the captive-bred bears, which can weigh up to 800 pounds.
"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,” said Jeff Funke, OSHA’s area director in Billings.
A special bond between animal and trainer
According to the company’s website, “What separates Animals of Montana from the competition is the fact that all of their animals are worked with day in and day out from just days old. This develops a special bond between animal and trainer, which in turn eliminates misbehaving, unruly, scared animals.”
Animals of Montana, Inc. describes its trio of grizzly bears as “highly trained.”
From the company's website: “Our entire trio of Grizzlies will amaze you with their trained skills, yet leave you in AWE over just how well behaved they are! They have starred in several films requiring “attack reenactments,” using our trainers as stuntmen! They all have such different characteristics and personalities, and every day they give us something else to chuckle about!”
The company was also cited for failing to report an occupational fatality within eight hours of its occurrence.