Man Attacked by Bear Found Dead in Montana

Nov 6, 2012

An animal trainer was found mauled and dead inside a bear pen in Montana. Authorities were forced to shoot one of the bears used for filmmaking to recover the body of the trainer. Investigators are attempting to determine if the brown bears killed the man or if he had died prior to the attack, they investigated on Monday.

Illustration of a brown bear attacking Russian...

Illustration of a brown bear attacking Russian hunters (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the 24-year-old animal trainer Benjamin Cloutier was pulled out of the cage housing the 500-pound bears, he had suffered serious wounds that made it a challenge to determine if the attack happened before or after his death on Sunday.

Upon inspection, there were no apparent defensive wounds on the hands or arms of Cloutier.  A bear spray that was on his person at the time of the attack had not been used either, Demetri Price, head trainer at Animals of Montana near Bozeman told the AP.

Price speculated that Cloutier perhaps may have suffered a death blow to his head on a fall prior to the bear attack.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin was able to confirm the absence of defensive wounds and that the mace-like bear spray had not been used. He said however, that there was no way to prove Cloutier was unconscious before or after the attack began.

‘‘The body had been attacked so fiercely, there were so many injuries that there was no way — that’s why we’re not going to speculate,’’ Gootkin said.

What is hard truth and not speculated is that bite and claw wounds to major arteries caused Cloutier to bleed to death.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have decided to take the incident into investigation under the expertise of their sheriff’s office and wardens. So far, the death is being considered accidental and in no way is it being considered a criminal matter.

Animals of Montana are the company that used captive-bred animals for photography shoots and motion pictures. The animals that they use range from African lions and minks to badgers and bobcats. Bears that AM uses have been used to create bear attack reenactments where trainers often pose as the stunt people for the film.

Andrea Shaw, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokeswoman told the press that the company’s state license to operate as an animal menagerie will be reviewed in the wake of Cloutier’s death. The company has not had any prior mishaps or safety violations.

According to Price, there had been no prior problems with the animals owned by the company. She alleged that Coutier was trained to deal with the bears.

Have you or a loved one been severely injured by an enclosed animal at a movie set of a pen? Contact our lawyers; you may be entitled to compensation.


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