Former bear wrestler and longtime PETA foe Sam Mazzola has died. Ohio authorities found Mazzola’s body at his home and believe that he died of asphyxia. An autopsy will be conducted.
Mazzola will be notoriously remembered for the death of Brent Kandra, who died last year after being mauled by one of Mazzola’s bears.
But Mazzola—who for years took bears out on the road and charged people to “wrestle” them—had brushes with the law going back decades. Mazzola 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. Mazzola’s bears caused injury and property damage, including one who escaped Mazzola’s compound and attacked a neighbor.
Many animals, including bears, wolves, and big cats, still remain in small barren cages on Mazzola’s property. Please join PETA in asking the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to place these animals in reputable sanctuaries. And please refuse to fund cruel roadside zoos with your entry fee.