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Published: Wednesday, 9/1/2010

Cleveland area bear owner carried no insurance for caretaker

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Sam Mazzola, left, arrives at his exotic animal farm Friday in Columbia Station, Ohio, where a caretaker was mauled by a bear Thursday night. Sam Mazzola, left, arrives at his exotic animal farm Friday in Columbia Station, Ohio, where a caretaker was mauled by a bear Thursday night.
MARK DUNCAN / AP Enlarge

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Records show the owner of a bear that recently mauled its caretaker to death had no workplace injury insurance to cover the man, a potential violation of Ohio law.

Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation spokeswoman Maria Smith says investigators will go to Sam Mazzola's home on Thursday to determine if he had paid 24-year-old Brent Kandra or other employees since his coverage lapsed in late 2005.

Kandra was fatally attacked Aug. 19 after opening the bear's cage for a feeding at the home where Mazzola keeps his exotic animal menagerie. Mazzola's attorney and Kandra's father have said Kandra worked for Mazzola.

Ohio requires business owners who pay even one employee to carry insurance in the event of injury or death. A message seeking comment was left Wednesday with Mazzola's attorney, John Frenden.



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