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Mother of Man Killed by Bear Advocates for Exotic Animal Ban

We recently wrote about Brent Kandra, the Elyria man killed by a bear last month while feeding the bear at the wildlife compound where he was employed. Although 24-year-old Kandra's death is still under investigation, his mother is already hard at work to ensure that changes are made.

Ohio is one of just a few states without strict regulations for many exotic animals such as bears, big cats, primates and large snakes. State officials are addressing the problem, and rules governing ownership are currently in development. Kandra's mother, Diedre Herbert, recently wrote a letter to Governor Ted Strickland in support of enacting such regulations.

In her letter, Herbert said that she is in full support of the ban. "Bears and other wild animals are just that - wild - and they should not be confined in backyard cages," she wrote.

Herbert also expressed concern over a potential grandfather clause in the proposed regulations, which would allow those who currently own exotic animals to keep them. In response, Amanda Wurst, a spokeswoman for the governor, said that the new rules are still in progress, and whether current owners will get to keep their animals depends on the final version of the rules.

Sam Mazzola, the owner of the bear responsible for Kandra's death (as well as several other exotic animals), spoke out against the rules, stating that he is "offended" that Kandra's death is being used to pass laws that Kandra would not have agreed with.

Iroquois, the bear that killed Kandra, was euthanized at Kandra's family's request. The incident remains under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Source: The Chronicle-Telegram, "Brent Kandra's mother asks government to ban exotic animal ownership", Brad Dicken, 8 September 2010

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