Ohio owner of bear involved in fatal mauling dies

July 10, 2011 - 3:29 PM

COLUMBIA STATION, Ohio (AP) — The owner of a bear that fatally mauled a caretaker last year has been found dead in bed at his property in northern Ohio.

The Lorain County sheriff's office says an employee of exotic animal owner Sam Mazzola found the 49-year-old dead Sunday at his property in Columbia Station, about 15 miles southwest of Cleveland. The office didn't immediately release information about how he died.

A bear owned by Mazzola killed 24-year-old Brent Kandra in August after he opened its cage for feeding at the Mazzola home, where wolves and tigers also were kept.

A coroner determined it was a workplace accident. The bear was euthanized after Kandra's death.

Animal-rights activists had wanted Mazzola charged with reckless homicide. They previously targeted him because he staged wrestling matches between bears and humans.