Killer Bear: Worker at exotic animal sanctuary mauled to death


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COLUMBIA TOWNSHIP, OH (WOIO) - A 24-year-old man who worked at an exotic animal sanctuary has died after a being attacked by a bear.

The attack happened Thursday evening at an exotic animal sanctuary owned by Sam Mazzola, a man best known for wrestling bears in public and previously owning an exotic pet shop.

Brent Kandra worked at the sanctuary and had handled the bear many times prior to the fatal attack. Mazzola called 9-1-1 and was able to get the bear back into it's cage for isolation when Mazzola himself began having medical issues and required transportation to a local hospital.

Dispatch:  What's going on there sir?
Caller:  I had someone get bit.
Dispatch:  By what?
Caller:  By an animal
Dispatch:  What kind of animal sir?
Caller:  We have exotic animals here.
Dispatch:  Okay, well I just need to know what type of animal so I can let them know.
Caller:  The animal is all put away, just get somebody here.
Caller:  Man, I need somebody here right (expletive) now man!
Dispatch:  Is the person breathing?
Caller:  Barely, come on guys I need (expletive) help.

According to Lorain County Sheriffs, all the necessary paperwork to house exotic animals were in proper order and the owner of the bear plans to have it "put down." Mazzola also houses lions, tigers, wolves and other bears at his exotic animal sanctuary.

19 Action News caught up with Sam Mazzola Friday afternoon. Mazzola told the media "I was the only one him at the time and it's going to be really hard to live with the rest of my life."

He also spoke briefly about ending the bear's life. "I'm going to do what his family wishes. That's my promise to his father and his family. Don't want to make any hasty decisions....he loved the bear very much and I'm sure the bear loved him very much."

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