Senior Editor
04.25.08 36 Comments

People tell me I have a knack for turning senseless tragedy into vaguely amusing commentary, so who better to bring you the latest on DraculaBearGate?  Anyway, yesterday state officials opened an investigation into the incident, which they say occurred during the filming of a promotional video.

The story’s kind of complicated, but basically the victim, Stephan Miller, worked for a social networking site called ShareNow, and died while shooting a promo video at Predators in Action, a company owned by his cousin Randy that provides animals for use in media, with its headquarters located, awesomely, in Big Bear, California. 

-Stephan Miller died Tuesday after the 7 1/2-foot-tall bear, named Rocky, bit him on the neck.
-An autopsy Thursday found that Stephan Miller died within minutes of neck injuries consistent with a single bite.
-"If the coroner’s report says there’s only one bite, then it follows what the initial report was, which is that the person was bitten, not attacked.”
-"Knowing the bear, taking little nip-type bites with the front teeth, every bear does that," said Joel Almquist, who co-owns an exotic animal santuary called Forever Wild and has himself wrestled Rocky. [AP]

So yeah, in case you missed that, a guy who voluntarily wrestled Dracula Bear admits he could kill when he’s just trying to say hi.  Anyway, the Dept of Industrial Relations will be investigating ShareNow for health and safety violations.

[Company Chairman Nigel] Robertson said he hired Stephan Miller, an expert in Internet startups, 10 months ago to establish online communities and was impressed by his dedication. Miller, the No. 3 man at the fledgling company, would sleep in the office in a sleeping bag and last week tattooed ShareNow’s logo on his arm, Robertson said. He talked often about his passion for exotic animals.

Not sure what the connection is between a passion for exotic animals and a dotcom tattoo on your arm, but I’m guessing it involves having shit for brains. 

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [of course] provided the news media with copies of federal inspection reports that noted some problems at the site in 2001, 2005 and 2007, but a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture called them "very minor issues" that were quickly corrected.

Examples included water troughs that were frozen over, a worn and stained cutting board for meat preparation and jagged edges on some plywood enclosures.

Don’t laugh, you give a bear some frozen water, a splinter, or an improperly prepared beef slab, and they’re liable to claw your guts out.  I know a lot about bears, because I read Zoobooks.

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