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Bozeman-area company faces fines in fatal bear mauling

By The Associated Press
Published On: Apr 30 2013 10:34:18 PM MDT
Updated On: Apr 30 2013 10:42:36 PM MDT
BILLINGS, Mont. -

Federal authorities say the death of a Montana animal trainer mauled by two 500-pound captive brown bears could have been prevented if standard safety procedures had been followed.

Twenty-four-year-old Benjamin Cloutier was killed in November while cleaning the Syrian brown bears' pen at Animals of Montana, which rents out captive-bred animals for photography shoots and motion pictures.

The U.S. Department of Labor said Tuesday the failure on the part of the Bozeman-area company to prevent the death violated federal workplace safety rules. The agency proposed $9,000 in fines for allowing employees to have direct contact with bears and for not promptly reporting Cloutier's death.

Park County officials concluded the death was accidental, and no criminal charges were pursued.