A 400-pound black bear kept as a pet killed Brent Kandra, a 24 year old man from Elyria, Ohio. Only one witness survived the mauling, the bear’s owner Sam Mazzola, who claimed he forced the bear back into his cage with the help of a fire extinguisher. Mazzola and Kandra were taken to MetroHealth Medical Center where Kendra died.
Kandra was cited in the Associated Press as the bear’s “caretaker”, but also had a habit of play-wrestling with the bear. Kandra and Mazzola also owned lions, coyotes, wolves, other bears and tigers in a loud, smelly menagerie. Neighbors had been unsuccessfully petitioning for the animals to be removed for years. Mazzola had filed for bankruptcy earlier in 2010, according to his attorney, John Frendan.
Mazzola of Columbia Station, Ohio made some pocket cash by charging people to wrestle his black bear, Caesar. He took black bears at roadside attractions. He even went so far as to trademark the name “Caesar the Wrestling Bear.” After years of confrontations with animal rights activists, most notably the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – and quite possibly, by not finding enough people dumb enough to wrestle a bear – Caesar was retired in 2007. It is unknown whether Caesar is the bear responsible for the killing.
Mazzola claimed in 2008 that his bears wrestled over 22,000 people “without major injury.” Mazzola also has been found guilty of illegally selling skunks to pet stores.
What Will Happen To The Bear?
Any animal responsible for killing a human being is immediately destroyed. The bear was euthanized with Kendra’s family watching on the morning of August 21, 2010. Although news reports and officials have not stated if the bear was destroyed, that is the usual policy about animals, wild or “pets”, in the United States.
Mazzola held a press conference outside of his menagerie soon after the fatal attack. He said the bear in question had been removed from its cage in order to be fed. Neither Mazolla nor Lorain County Sheriff department officials said why the bear attacked Kandra.
Mazzola and one his neighbors, 48 year old Michael Strickland, claimed that he treated all of his animals “as children.” It is unknown whether Mazzola has children and whether he keeps them in small cages, drags them all around the country to make money and has their teeth removed.
Bears Are Not Pets
It is too bad the US policy on bear attacks requires the immediate shooting of the bear, even if that bear helped to strengthen the human gene pool. Seriously – what Einstein goes into the cage of a black bear and starts wrestling it? It’s too bad the bear couldn’t take Mazzola out, too. Who knows what that bear had to go through being shut up in a cage all of its life? Perhaps mind-numbing boredom was a main factor in the attack. Bears do not know their own strength.
Many carnivores kept as exotic pets have their claws and teeth removed in order to make them less dangerous. But black bears are heavy enough to serious damage to a human being just by sitting on them, hugging them or even pushing them aside. Although it is unknown which black bear species the attacking bear was, bears average 250 pounds, with males being far heavier than females. American black bears can tip the scales at 500 pounds.
It is easier to get a bear as a pet in America than it is to get health care. All one has to do is attend an exotic pet show or go onto the Internet to contact exotic pet breeders or brokers. Getting an exotic animal license can be just a matter of a quick bribe.
Although it may be illegal in some places to own a bear as a pet, if the bear can be kept hidden, then no harm is done – that is, until harm is done. Mostly, harm is done to the pets. They get bad diets, almost no veterinary treatment and are finally sold, shot or die from neglect, according to a 2008 report by ABC News.
If you know someone who has a bear for a pet, please call the police. If they can’t help, contact the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA.)
Scottish Daily Record. “Man Mauled to Death by Wrestling Bear.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/weird-news/2010/08/21/man-mauled-to-death-by-wrestling-bear-86908-22503150/
Stamford Advocate. “Neighbors: Home where bear attacked Ohioan ‘a zoo.'” Thomas J. Sheeran. http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Bear-owned-by-Ohio-wrestling-exhibitor-kills-man-623269.php
ABC News. “The Allure of Exotic Pets Brings Risks to Owners, Animals.” http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=6150276&page=1
Cleveland.com: USDA pins Sam Mazzola’s Bear-Wrestling Act. http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2008/09/usda_pins_sam_mazzolas_bearwre.html