Bear, Victim 'Were Just Playing With Each Other'

Owner: Exotic animal compound is safe

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 23, 2010 2:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – Despite the fact that one of his bears killed caretaker Brent Kandra, Sam Mazzola insists his exotic animal compound is safe and says he will make no changes. He and the rest of his handlers believe the attack was simply an accident and could have happened to any of them, the AP reports. “This was his choice," Mazzola recently told Good Morning America. "If we get injured, it's no different than an airline pilot getting injured."

Mazzola claims the bear—Kandra’s favorite—was just playing with Kandra. "The food was already there. I mean the bear wasn't even interested. He was interested in playing with Brent. And when it was time for him to leave, the bear didn't want him to go and just grabbed him," he says. The bear was euthanized Saturday at the request of Kandra’s family, the AP adds.

This undated photo released by his family, shows Brent Kandra, who was killed Thursday Aug. 19, 2010 by a bear as he let it out of its cage for a routine feeding in northeastern Ohio.
This undated photo released by his family, shows Brent Kandra, who was killed Thursday Aug. 19, 2010 by a bear as he let it out of its cage for a routine feeding in northeastern Ohio.   (AP Photo/Kandra Family)
Sam Mazzola opens a trailer door for Lorain County Sheriff's investigators in his exotic animal farm, Aug. 20, 2010, in Columbia Station, Ohio, where a caretaker was mauled by a bear Thursday night.
Sam Mazzola opens a trailer door for Lorain County Sheriff's investigators in his exotic animal farm, Aug. 20, 2010, in Columbia Station, Ohio, where a caretaker was mauled by a bear Thursday night.   (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
This undated photo provided by the North American Bear Center shows a black bear named Lily outside of Ely, Minn.
This undated photo provided by the North American Bear Center shows a black bear named Lily outside of Ely, Minn.   (AP Photo/Sue Mansfield, North American Bear Center)
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Sam Mazzola talks about the attack that killed one of his animal handlers.   (ABC News)

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