Written by PETA
Former bear wrestler and longtime PETA foe Sam Mazzola was found dead recently, handcuffed to a waterbed and bound with chains and padlocks. He apparently choked to death on a sex toy that was lodged in his throat and that obstructed his breathing. He was also wearing a leather mask with the eyes and mouth zipped shut and a two-piece metal sphere covering his head.
Mazzola's history of dominating, controlling, and humiliating powerful animals may now make sense.
Prior to the bizarre circumstances of his passing, Mazzola was perhaps best known for the death of Brent Kandra, who died last year after being mauled by one of Mazzola's bears.
But Mazzola—who for years, until PETA got his license pulled, took bears out on the road and charged people to "wrestle" them—had brushes with the law and spent time in prison for trafficking in cocaine. His federal license to exhibit animals was permanently revoked in 2009, and he was fined nearly $14,000 for multiple violations of federal law, including threatening federal agents and falsely claiming that an inspector solicited a bribe. One of the bears he kept caged escaped Mazzola's compound and attacked a neighbor, causing injuries and property damage. Another young man was killed by a bear in the compound last year. PETA had petitioned the local government to close Mazzola's place down, move the animals out, and charge Mazzola with negligent homicide. An investigation was in progress.
Some animals, including bears, wolves, and big cats, still remain in small barren cages on Mazzola's property, and others have already been transferred to questionable operations.
Please join PETA in asking the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to seize all the animals over which they have jurisdiction and to see that they are placed in reputable sanctuaries. And please refuse to fund deplorable roadside zoos with your entry fee.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
PETA is calling for reckless homicide charges to be filed against Sam Mazzola, the former operator of notorious "wrestling bear" shows and the owner of a bear who mauled a 24-year-old Ohio man to death in August of 2010. The recently released autopsy report for Brent Kandra, who was reportedly feeding the bear when he was fatally attacked, shows that the extent and duration of the mauling was far greater than originally thought.
Kandra suffered 658 wounds, including a laceration to his left brachial artery, two broken ribs, a puncture wound to his heart, and lacerations of his spleen, left kidney, and left lung. According to the autopsy report, the young man died from "multiple blunt impacts and sharp force injuries to the head, torso and extremities."
In a letter to the Lorain County prosecuting attorney, PETA writes, "This compelling new evidence, coupled with Mazzola's evasive 911 call …, call into question Mazzola's claim that he was with Brent when the attack occurred, instead suggesting that Brent was alone with the bear when he was attacked, and that Mazzola failed to timely intervene and seek assistance for Brent."
Kandra's parents say they feel Mazzola was negligent and are closely watching the case. They are also asking the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Governor John Kasich to enforce the ban on exotic animals that former Governor Ted Strickland enacted. Governor Kasich suspended the ban after complaints from exotic-animal owners, but Kandra's parents feel the ban is necessary to prevent future tragedies like the death of their son. Who can argue with them?
Written by Michelle Sherrow
You could hear a collective sigh of relief throughout the PETA building when outgoing Ohio Governor Ted Strickland signed an executive order banning people from owning, selling, breeding, or trading wild animals. The move came after several incidents in which frustrated captive animals attacked their keepers.
The order also required current owners of exotic animals to register the animals annually, and it prevented people from keeping exotic animals if they had been convicted of animal abuse or neglect or if their license to exhibit, breed, or possess animals had been revoked. This provision of the law meant that notorious animal abusers such as Sam Mazzola (whose Animal Welfare Act license was revoked in 2008), could no longer keep the exotic animals who were suffering in their care.
But now, the new governor, John Kasich, has requested that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) not enforce the ban. Instead, he would like the agency to further study the issue and decide how to keep Ohio residents safe without hurting "small business owners" (read: exotic-animal pimps). The ODNR website states that Kasich "is aware that there are questions and concerns by the public and small business owners regarding the emergency rules."
Don't let dealers of exotic animals keep Ohio from enforcing this important ban. It will protect Ohio residents and keep wild animals out of backyards and dismal roadside zoos. Please e-mail Governor Kasich and urge him and the ODNR to enforce this crucial ban.
A bear owned by notorious Ohio animal exhibitor and convicted felon Sam Mazzola has mauled a 24-year-old man to death. PETA has campaigned against Mazzola's cruel act for years as he took bears on the road and charged people to "wrestle" them or have their photos taken. His act left injured people and property damage in its wake. Mazzola was fined, and after 20 years of exploiting animals, federal authorities finally revoked his license to display animals. But because there are no laws prohibiting people from keeping wild and dangerous animals as "pets" in Ohio, Mazzola is still allowed to keep bears, tigers, and other animals.
Need I mention the chimpanzee who removed a woman's face and fingers in Connecticut or the woman who was mauled by a bear who escaped from a menagerie in Ashtabula County, Ohio; forced his way into the woman's home; knocked her to the floor; and attacked her? The list is long. The time is overdue for lawmakers to revamp the laws so people can't keep tigers, bears, chimpanzees, and other wild animals in backyard pens and ramshackle cages.
Please join us in calling on Ohio Governor Ted Strickland to quickly sign the pending executive order that would ban the sale, purchase, breeding, and possession of many species of exotic animals in the state.
Written by Jennifer O'Conner
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.