No Citation After Maine Elephant Keeper’s Death

Hope Elephants refuge founder James Laurita died in September when an elephant apparently stepped on him

FILE - necn

Federal workplace safety regulators will not cite the owners of a Maine elephant sanctuary where a caretaker died.

In a March 4 letter to Hope Elephants, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that workers not be in the same unrestricted space as elephants except in rare circumstances. The letter was provided to The Associated Press on Friday.

Hope Elephants refuge founder James Laurita died in an enclosure in September when one of the elephants apparently stepped on him. The death was ruled accidental.

OSHA issued a "hazard alert" after Laurita's death. An OSHA spokesman says the alert is a cautionary warning for all businesses that work with large animals.

Laurita's brother, co-founder Tom Laurita, says the now-closed refuge's future is uncertain. He says he has not seen OSHA's recommendation.

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