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Owner of Bear Who Killed a Man Has Long History of Flouting Laws Designed to Protect People From Wild Animals, PETA Tells Prosecutor
For Immediate Release:August 31, 2010
Contact:Jeffrey Kerr, Esq. 757-622-7382
Elyria, Ohio -- This morning, PETA Foundation General Counsel Jeffrey Kerr sent a letter to Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will and Lorain County Sheriff Phil Stammitti urging them to file charges of reckless homicide against Sam Mazzola, a notorious animal exhibitor. Mazzola regularly allowed Brent Kandra, who was killed by a 400- to 500-pound bear on August 19, to come into direct physical contact with the unrestrained animal, thereby ignoring the known risk of death to him--a violation of Ohio's reckless homicide statute. Mazzola's animal exhibitor's license was permanently revoked in 2009 at PETA's urging, and he is currently on probation after being convicted in federal court for subsequently exhibiting animals without a license.
"Mazzola has kept these wild animals in what are essentially dog runs, deprived them of everything that is natural and important to them, and squeezed profit out of them at every turn, so it's no surprise that they would bite back," says PETA Director Debbie Leahy. "Mazzola was well aware of the risk of injury or death, and we believe that the evidence shows that his recklessness cost this young man his life."
The following is just a sample of the evidence that Mazzola knew the risk of allowing physical interaction between a human and an unrestrained adult bear:
* In his bankruptcy petition filed in May 2010, Mazzola declared eight black bears under the category of personal property that poses "a threat of imminent and identifiable harm to the public health or safety."
* Mazzola himself was attacked by a bear on at least one occasion, publicly stating that he had 2,000 stitches in his face after a bear attack.
* Kandra was trained only by Mazzola, who described his training method as being a "hands on" approach in which trainees "learn by mistakes."
* The U.S. Department of Agriculture cited Mazzola on December 13, 2003; August 19, 2004; March 18, 2005; August 16, 2005; March 18, 2006; May 12, 2006; May 19, 2006; and May 26, 2006 for violating the Animal Welfare Act's animal-handling provision by allowing customers to enter enclosures containing dangerous wild animals.
PETA has also asked Lorain County Sheriff Phil Stammitti to investigate Mazzola for euthanizing a bear without a permit and to determine whether his animals have been properly exercised and fed.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
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.