A Caged Bear Mauls Its Caretaker at Meal Time

Sam Mazzola keeps a large collection of bears, wolves and tigers at his home in Ohio. He's let people take on "Caesar the Wrestling Bear" for money. Shockingly, on Thursday one of his bears attacked and killed a caretaker.

Brent Kandra was attacked Thursday evening as he let a bear out of its cage for a scheduled feeding on Sam Mazzola's property. As the bear mauled him, and owner Sam Mazzola used a fire extinguisher to force the animal back into its cage. Kandra died later at a hospital. "It's one that [Kandra] played with constantly, every time that he was here," Mazzola told the AP. He added, "These are the things that happen when you deal and love these type of animals," showing off a scar to reporters he said was from a bear.

Mazzola has a checkered past with animals, and recently filed for bankruptcy:

Mazzola had filed for bankruptcy this year and had convictions for illegally selling and transporting animals. Authorities will investigate before deciding on any criminal charges.

The property held about seven to nine bears and 20 wolves, and possibly a lion and three or four tigers, Drozdowski said. Neighbors said he also kept coyotes. Mazzola said in his bankruptcy filing in May in federal court in Cleveland that he owned two white tigers, two Bengal tigers, an African lion, eight bears and 12 wolves.

Several years ago, Mazzola showcased "Caesar the Wrestling Bear," who is quite popular in the area, at the Cleveland Sport, Travel & Outdoor Show, where he wrestled Lance Palmer (pictured above). PETA doesn't particularly like Mazzola, either. But some neighbors defend Mazzola, saying he treats his animals like they were his own children.

Bears are huge this summer, too! They guard marijuana farms, burglarize homes looking for frozen pizza, rescue stuffed animals, get picked on by hikers, take cars out on joyrides, and they have killed a few people, too. Summer 2010: Revenge of the Bears.

Here's Caesar the Wrestling Bear, 1990's style:

[Caesar the Wrestling Bear grapples with Lance Palmer in 2006, via AP]