Reader: Farmers need to read all of Senate bill 310



Once again animal owners have been sold out by Ohio leaders and the Farm Bureau. I was at the Senate hearings for SB310 — less than 30 proponents for it while hundreds of opponents attended. Our words fell on deaf ears as we told them why this bill was not fair, why this bill hurt the animal industry in Ohio. They sat there talking to each other laughing.

Troy Balderson wasn’t even in attendance most of the time. The day Balderson submitted his bill that will take away private property on hearsay, his aide told me there would be no ban. It would be great for animal owners — you have Troy’s word. Before I even got off the phone, the radio had Balderson on telling about the ban Kasich had him write. Not only did he have him write one, he had Troy’s sidekick Brian Hill write the very same thing.

Balderson and Hill do not support Ohio farms or animal owners. They would rather stand with HSUS as one along with Kasich. I have said so many times, why on God’s green Earth would you join the Ohio Farm Bureau? They sold out the pork, poultry, veal and every animal industry in Ohio and people still sent them money. Why?

Jack Fisher is on the wrong board, he needs to be on PETA’s board. Can anyone tell me when Ohio’s farmers are going to grow a backbone and stand up against the animal rights groups like Missouri? Show Ohioans for Humane Farms, ALF, ELF and Mercy for Animals where the state line is and keep them out. We have fought from June 2010 to keep our animals and will keep on fighting.

If Ohio farmers keep sitting on their butts they will be put under the bus like everyone else has. The farmers in Ohio need to wake up. Its not an exotic animal bill; it’s an animal rights bill. Any animal HSUS wants banned, they can get added — the Kasich/Balderson express gave them a voting seat. They already have water buffalo, what’s next? Jerseys?

Read the bill. All of the bill. I can call ODA and tell them the guy down the road has a snake in his house and this bill allows them to come and search his house without cause. A simple phone call and they can come in your home.

Your rights are being stripped away by the very people we elected to be our voice. Read the bill, all the bill, and then call and tell our state leaders you don’t support invasion of privacy, illegal search and seizure and you don’t support HSUS running our state.

Butch Hash

Frazeysburg, Ohio


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  1. The government in this country is turning this country into a place where the american dream no longer exist. Look at John Kaisich, he is paid off by the biggest animal terrorist group in the world called the Humane Society Of the United States (HSUS). This pay off goes all through his administration. Dont believe it? Then ask this question why are they banning exotic animals in the state with a bill that is not only supported by the Ohio Farm Bureau but also the global federation of animal sanctuaries(GFAS) which has board of directors that are directly tied to the Humane Society Of the United States (HSUS). When I had a conversation with Troy Balderson about GFAS/HSUS he said he hates HSUS but wasnt going to argue who’s who, the reallity of this is he doesnt care need I say more.

  2. I believe Senator Balderson started out to write a good bill, but the Governor hijacked it. The right thing to do would be for Senator Balderson to remove his name from the bill since it’s no longer his. It is not a public safety bill, it’s a bill to shut down federally licensed and inspected animal facilities throughout Ohio, because they’re in competition with the public zoos like the Columbus Zoo. This is still America and Ohio supposedly still supports small businesses. Senator Balderson needs to remember he’s a business owner himself and if Jack Hanna and the Governor were trying to shut down HIS business, he’d be every bit as outraged as the animal owners of Ohio are.

  3. Out of all of the testimony provided during SB310 hearings, only 1 public person testified in support, and she by her own testimony said she moved TO ohio TO support the bill. I attended all the hearings and there were 50 times that number against the bill and I saw written testimony from non-animal owners submitted against the bill.

    If Senator Balderson is not willing to listen to his constituents, then maybe he should not be re-elected. There were at least 5 people from his district testifying against the bill.

    Jack Hanna might want to clean his AZA Accreditated Zoo before he casts stones at others. Not very good to stand and accuse private owners of abuse when animals in the zoo just in the last few days were seen with have matted fur so bad that fly eggs are hatching on the animal in open wounds.

  4. Keith C., you are correct in stating that I did testify in support of SB310. You are also correct in stating that I did testify that I moved back home recently after selling my home and purchasing another home in the city where all of my children were born and were I spent my teenage years and most of my adulthood growing up. I did come back to Ohio to be closer to friends and family, but I also came back to see that a law was put in place to end the private ownership of dangerous, predatory, animals in hopes that no one else would be severely injured or die as a result of an under regulated select group of individuals who manipulate the lack of laws and standards to their own advantage for personal or financial means.
    I will openly admit that before my son’s horrific death I knew little about this practice or the concept that there were people living throughout Ohio that kept predatory animals as pets, collected them with indifference to how their collection might impact surrounding homes and neighborhoods, made money off of them for financial means of support, and subjected these animals to cruel practices of breeding for photo opportunities with the unsuspecting public, screaming football fans in a packed high school stadium on Friday nights, and to wrestle with humans for novelty and profit. All of this sounds innocent and makes business sense I guess to those that profit off of the animals that as one owner stated, “work to provide for themselves.”
    I did not know that lions, tigers, bears, elephants, etc. procreate to offer their off-spring to endure long hours being constantly handled so that their human counterparts may have an 8″x10″ photo of their own off-spring constantly holding their own baby cubs. Forgive me if I am wrong…. but I do not think these animals work for their upkeep in Africa or India. I also do not think that bears over the years viewed hunters as wrestling partners and decided that instead of grazing and fishing for their prey that they would just start wrestling the unsuspecting hunter or hiker that happened to go into their woods for financial support of maintaining their standards of living and insuring their marketability as pro wrestlers among the human population. Just does not make sense does it. I think it personally sounds delusional and ridiculous, but members of your exotic animal industry have been doing this for years at the expense of their animals without remorse or regret. They have spent many years and have invested money into pimping out their animals in whatever fashion that can dream up that does not cross the lines of the USDA coming after them but continues their profit margin financially of making money to support themselves and their own lifestyles. I wonder if every animal born in captivity grows up with aspirations such as what a few of your exotic animal people claim to be…… to work long hours, be handled constantly for human entertainment, and to promote education and awareness by carting these animals around in steel crates/cages to their next job so that we humans can be educated on their existence and realize how their populations are dwindling! I think of the word “Oxymoron” when it comes to the excuses I have heard be given for the continued need for some of these owners to continue to practice their way of pimping their animals out for profit.
    I will also state that I believe there are also a few exotic animal owners who intentions remain somewhat pure in their caring for and keeping these predatory animals because they were discarded or found abused by the novelty owner who did not realize the commitment they were getting themselves into when they purchased or acquired one of these animals. To these owner’s I admire your dedication of stepping up to the plate where others in this business has resulted in this abuse and manipulation of these animals.
    Unfortunately, the bad animal owner’s and their unscrupulous practices have shown a negative light on the whole business of exotic animal ownership here in Ohio bringing your private club members to the spotlight and microscope.
    Sam Mazzola and Terry Thompson were both exotic animal owners here in Ohio. Both of these gentlemen had apparent run ins with the USDA and both of these men lost their ability to have a USDA exhibitor’s license. Both of these men were member’s of your organizations and many of you supported them in their day. I can not talk about Terry Thompson but I can state that Sam Mazzola did not practice safe husbandry and care of his animals. Sam Mazzola publicly stated that he had safety protocols in place and that his employees/volunteers learned hands on from their mistakes. Sam Mazzola loved the media and had many various stories and accounts of how his farm was ran when it came to the safety, care, and upkeep of his farm. Unfortunately for Sam, evidence finally had its opportunity to speak in black and white after my son’s death. Numerous bears were to blame for the attack of my son initially after his death per Sam……Cherokee, Ceasar,Iroquis…….I guess I will never know the true identity of the bear and his real name other than the name of the bear that was provided the night of the attack…. Cherokee. Sam stated that he was with my son when he was attacked and that it lasted only about 10 seconds………evidence would later prove that Sam was no where in the vicinity of the barn when the attack took place and that he happened to hear screams and noises and found my son being viciously mauled by his bear having to use a fire extinguisher to separate the bear from the continued aggressive mauling of my son forcing it back into it’s cage. What was reportedly publicly by Sam Mazzola to the media was a lie! Brent had endured countless minutes of agonizing terror of having his brachial artery ripped out, his left ventricle punctured, several ribs crushed, left lung punctured, spleen crushed, left kidney crushed, his forearms eaten to the bone and a portion of his left leg also torn and eaten. Not to mention the countless punctures, claw marks, and bites covering his body head to toe.
    Many of you claim this is inherent risk of working with these animals and that each of you take this on knowingly. I counter this with stating that if you break your own safety rules and send a person off to care for your animals unattended or without another person present then it is not a risk of the industry but a death sentence to those who you employee to be in contact with these animals to assist you in caring for and feeding your animals.
    Sam Mazzola stated to the media that Brent was playing with the bear and that the bear was not interested in eating when it came time to feeding. Evidence clearly suggested that there was no play time involved prior to the incident. That Brent was nearing completion of cleaning and feeding all of the bears when he reached Cherokee’s cage and turned to grab a bag of English Muffins when the bear charged out of the cage and began attacking him. I wonder……. who in their right mind would twist the events of a horrific incident into a playtime activity that went wrong instead of telling the public the truth of the real events? I also wonder why Sam Mazzola could not clearly give emergency personnel the needed, correct information of what had happened that night instead of minimizing the degree of injury and neglecting to be forth coming with who, what, where, and when……when it came to the attack. Was Sam more concerned with the welfare of himself and his animals over my son? Was it easier to paint my son as the initiator of the attack rather than owning up to the possibility that one of his own animals savagely attacked a person unprovoked? There is so much controversy related to my son’s death and lies told that finally became clear and set straight with the release of the investigative report and his autopsy.
    Brent’s death was listed as a “workplace injury” on the coroner’s report. I wonder how many statistics become skewed if this if the normal reporting procedure for deaths and injuries related to exotic animals? How many exotic animal bites get blamed as being dog bites? It truly makes a person wonder about your defense of statistics when it comes to the reality of the dangers associated with exotic animal ownership?
    Unfortunately, Sam Mazzola died before the truth was released from that horrible night. Sam Mazzola died of asphyxiation. Even in death controversy arouse surrounding Sam Mazzola. Also, many reports of a conspiracy theory……..surrounding Sam Mazzola’s death.
    I only had one encounter with Sam Mazzola after my son’s death and it was in a court house. Sam Mazzola had no idea who I was and approached me wanting to know if I was a PETA reporter. When I told him no…. he asked me if I would like to go out on a date with him….
    I think my encounter with meeting Sam Mazzola for the first time in my life spoke volumes of the integrity of this man and what he represented in life! Sam did verbalize remorse and apologized after someone informed him who I really was….. but unfortunately Sam’s true colors were displayed publicly for all to see.
    With the Zanesville incident, you have yet again, another Ohio exotic animal owner who with disregard to public safety and the safety of his beloved animals cut open a few cages, unlocked the remaining, and then committed suicide leaving his animals a brief moment of freedom before being taken down due to the threat they presented to the general population in the area and unsuspecting motorist on I-77. Again, you have select members claiming conspiracy theory rather than accept the evidence that another member of your community and business practices has placed the very real dangers associated with this business practice/hobby/pet ownership into the spotlight.
    You would think a person would be making this up but unfortunately it has become the reality of Ohio exotic animal ownership and what Ohio has become well known for.
    Many members stating that you could govern yourselves, could use regulation, could live with some restrictions but that a ban with grandfathering in existing owner’s who were free of felonies or animal cruelty convictions was considered unfair and unjust. For years you have been allowed free reign to govern yourselves and regulate yourselves and instead of insuring a safe practice you have thrown the exotic animals owner’s who have put you in the spotlight out to the media as being the exception to the rule….. mentally unstable, and any other label to justify why these two men should not be associated with your practice and group.
    I have a personal interest in seeing this bill become law. I also realize that their will be people who will be impacted by this bill if is becomes law. I also realize that knowing what I do, having lost a son who was victimized even after death for the sake of your industry/practices, and knowing the true dangers associated with your practices that I have every right as a mother, resident of Ohio, and a concerned citizen about the humane care of these animals to speak out and let my voice be heard. Just as much as your group and can choose to disown the exotic animal owner’s who brought shame to your group and enlightened the public to the real dangers associated with this practice towards animals and residents here in Ohio.
    At the end of the day I know that I can close my eyes and rest comfortably knowing that my intentions are pure and honest. I do not have to smear reputable people or places to get my point across….. all anyone has to do is open up their eyes to the reality of what Ohio has become…..the Wild, Wild West! So I guess I want to thank you Keith for mentioning me in your defense. It provided me an opportunity to let your members know why I am speaking out and why I will continue to speak out for what I believe is needed here in Ohio.

    • Many of us have respectfully overlooked your past comments regarding exotic animal ownership-but it is clear in this comment that you are abusing the tragic death of your son to push your agenda onto others, and I feel it is now time to confront your REAL agenda since you yourself have become disrespectful of the very freedoms your son had enjoyed before his death….You have went into great detail about the autopsy findings and how your son had died…however, there are much much more horrific and gruesome deaths-hundreds of thousands-over many years that include decapitations, limbs severed, eviscerations, bodies ripped in many pieces, organs being completely destroyed, ect. and on top of this, many of these people did not have immediate medical care so maggots infested their wounds and their flesh rotted while they were alive and waiting for medical care…so what does this have to do with exotic ownership??? I am speaking of our soldiers and fellow US citizens that have fought for our FREEDOMS over many years-of which MANY sacrificed the ultimate-their lives-so that the rest of us could live our lives as free people. It is that very freedom-one that your son exercised his right to work where HE chose to-knowing that there were inherent dangers-and tragically died at under his OWN free will. NO ONE made him do what he did-he chose his own destiny.

      Yet, it is this very freedom that you and others are attempting to destroy under the false guise of “safety”. If “safety” is REALLY the intent, ALL automobiles should be banned. I have had three family members/close friends killed in automobile accidents (the autopsy of my brother was just as gruesome as your sons autopsy) and I know over a dozen other people that have been killed in them-yet I know of NO ONE hurt or killed by exotic animals-and HANDS DOWN I am much much more likely to be killed by YOU in your vehicle than by any of these “dangerous” animals. So why is MY safety any different than the “safety” of others you proclaim to protect by this ban??? Why shouldnt we ban YOU from having an automobile?? The fact is that you and other anti-exotic zealots are practicing “political bullying” by ganging up against a much smaller group and tramping on the US Constitution by forming a “mob rule” instead of protecting the individual rights and freedoms the constitution was written as.

      I have no exotic type animal, but I do have cattle, horses , dogs and more. I am MUCH more likely to be killed by them instead of ANY exotic animal-I am FULLY aware of this and accept ALL risks…but if I were to be killed by them, and my family acted like you and tried to get regulations and bans raised, I would COMPLETELY DISOWN THEM-period!!! While I never knew your son, I wonder if he wouldnt have felt the same.

      While I have no intentions on getting exotic animals, I stand with the exotic owners and ALL who value our freedoms and rights that this country was built on. We have the right to personal property, and the right to make profits on our properties. Along with these rights are responsibilities-and the exotic owners have shown they are extremely responsible people and are willing to acknowledge this. Pathetically, we live in a time when so many people are so quick to deny others their constitutional rights and freedoms based on so VERY little-the ban on exotics a prime example. People are NOT endangered by exotics any more than fellow human beings (who are much more likely to kill them than the animals) The mindet of these groups that are attempting to deny others their rights is outright dangerous-it is the start of communism, and I feel all those who have it have betrayed their country, fellow citizens, and have desicrated the sacrifices made by so many that have given their lives to protect us…they are a disgrace to be fellow Ohioans and fellow Americans.

      • FED-UP &PO’d farmer: You are correct in stating that there are many ways to die and much more horrendous ways a person’s body can be dismembered or mutilated. Considering I have worked as a Registered Nurse and knowing many people that work in the medical field I have seen my share of tragedies and have had family members and friends lose limbs, etc. to machinery or pure stupidity. The difference with the people I know is that there was no cover up/lies/manipulation in seeking them emergency care or having to lie to explain what happened to them in order to protect their hobby or investment. I use my son’s death because I know that my son was pleading with Sam before he took his last breath to not let him die. A person does not beg for their life if they are willing to face death as you so eloquently put it at the expense of an animal. Not to mention that these were not Brent’s animals nor did Brent ever own any exotic predatory animal that he might have accepted responsibility and comfort in death knowing that this was an inherent risk that was accepted. Brent may have been aware that there were dangers associated with working at Sam’s, but I assure you he did not show up at Sam’s place that evening with the intent and knowledge that he would be spend his last living moments being viciously mauled by a bear alone in a barn. Brent’s death brought about the lack of practiced safety protocols enforced by an exotic animal owner despite Sam publicly stating that all of his workers and volunteers work in pairs and never alone when it comes to cleaning and feeding his animals. But yet, on this particular evening Sam had called Brent and asked him to come out to his place to work that evening. If it normal practice to work in pairs when cleaning and feeding these types of animals why is it that Brent was alone in the barn and Sam the owner was elsewhere on the property feeding other animals. I can use my son’s death because he did die at the expense of an exotic animal owner who disregarded the safety of others and regulations of the USDA and lost his exhibitor’s license and then when a person was severely mauled and then died…. the owner not only was not up front with the emergency personnel in getting the appropriate information and help but continued to lie to cover himself until his own death. I can use my son’s death because OSHA and Workman’s Comp came out along with the ODNR to look into and investigate the circumstances surrounding Brent’s death. Brent’s death allowed these agencies to look into the safety practices and care of these types of animals along with human safety.
        I use Sam as an example because I am very familiar and have researched and talked with many previous employees that have worked for him over the years to know that not only was he trying to protect his own self interest but that over the years when other workers were injured Sam encouraged them to state that they were bitten by a dog or injured doing farm work.

        I also stated that I did not believe all exotic animal owners were like Sam or Terry and that there are most likely people with pure intentions of helping to rescue and care for these types of animals without trying to profit from them. These are the people for whom I have respect.

        What I did say is that within a time span of little over one year Ohio experienced two tragedies related to exotic animal ownership that put Ohio on the radar. I did not go out and encourage Sam’s bear to attack my son nor did I go and encourage Terry Thompson to release his animals and then commit suicide. Two different exotic animal owners here in Ohio who committed the unthinkable when it came to putting others at risk and displayed little thought or insight into how their actions would impact the exotic animal community and the resident’s of Ohio.

        It was these two exotic animal owners who brought their practices and the dangers associated with it to the forefront of every Ohio resident as they watched the media cover each tragedy. I made no media statements or appearances until a couple months after my son’s death when I had more information and had listened to area resident’s verbalize their concerns/fears related to people owning and keeping these animals in areas that were close to schools, sub-division housing complexes, and businesses. I did not immediately react out of grieving emotion but put time, research, and thought into this issue before coming forward and speaking out. I also spoke with law enforcement officers who have dealt with exotic animal owners over the years in response to complaints from surrounding neighbors or calls of animals that are loose and roaming the surrounding area around where they are housed.

        As an animal owner/farmer you may be comfortable with the inherent dangers and risks associated with your practice of keeping large predatory animals who have been raised as cubs dependent on humans for food and interaction. The majority of Ohio resident’s do not feel comfortable and would be terrified if they were found face to face with a predatory animal that escaped due to human error on behalf of the owner or their employee. And I am sure if an escaped animal was to attack or kill a person their family would not be accepting that this is an inherent danger and risk of living near an exotic animal farm.

        Ohio has been known for farming and agriculture and I respect the actual farmer who raises his animals and grows crops. I can not find any logical or fundamental reason why I should respect and support a small group of people who choose to raise exotic predatory animals to exhibit, breed, and encourage unnatural human-animal interaction for financial gain. I believe I am in the majority when it comes to this belief.

        My mother was born and raised on a tobacco farm in Kentucky and had a few siblings that purchased land in Ohio and became farmers. My father was a World War II veteran. My husband just retired from the U.S. Coast Guard after serving 20 years to our Country. I am aware of my freedom and the sacrifices made by our men and women who bravely fight without thought and sacrifice their lives for American freedom’s and beliefs. My standing up and speaking out is a right that I have as an American just as you have representing your fellow exotic animal owners.

        The problem is not so much with me speaking out as it is, according to your response, that it is because I am speaking against your belief of people raising animals that do nothing to contribute to our food industry in feeding the population of humans as it is to entertain us, educate us, and financially profit off of animals by most accounts would not be found naturally living in this country.
        I wonder if Marijuana farmers and any other person who financially profits from idea that may not be the norm of the rest of the general population that puts others at risk find comfort in your reasoning and justification?

        The reality is that other states within our Country have come to a conclusion long before Ohio has regarding the safety of the exotic animal industry and it’s useful practice and have enacted laws at the state level to place restrictions or prohibit the practice for the safety and welfare of these animals and the residents. Ohio is only one state out of a handful left that has no laws and regulations concerning this practice. Even the United States Government is stepping in with drawing up a bill to be presented banning the private possessions of Exotic cats across our Country in every state.
        Unfortunately our Country and Society is evolving and many changes are occurring as a result of our own stupidity over the years of taking things for granted believing it was our due right to abuse and exploit all that has been provided to us naturally.

        I believe I addressed your points and although I may not agree with your beliefs and stand behind what you feel is a valid industry I do respect that although you do not personally own exotics that you are willing to stand up and speak out for their hobby/business.

      • Deirdre,
        If this issue is such a priority to you then why did you not testify at the 1st proponent hearing but waited until the 3rd hearing. Also, neither you nor, Karen Minton or any of the other Animal Rightists even stayed around to listen to opponent testimony yet you continually state this is such a huge issue to you. Opponents where there from the time the bill was introduced all the way to the vote of the Senate. An issue close to me I would stay and listen to the entire thing so I know exactly what was said and by whom.

    • In the past TWO weeks, TWO small, innocent children have been mauled and killed by the family dog, and-closeby-one newborn baby had several of his fingers eaten off by a new puppy. Absolutely NO uproar was given to these tragedies… There really is NO reason for people to have these dangerous animals-they are not food and -in your words-are unnatural human/animal interaction. Why are you not attacking dog owners??? The truth is, as I said above, you are practicing “political bullying” by attacking a small group, and-if you TRUELY are concerned about safety-are too afraid of attacking a much larger group like dog owners. It is clear you are just practicing out a vendetta against exotic owners just because of the tragic death of your son.

    • As i have stated numerous times i do not support animal abuse. I believe laws should exist to protect animals from abuse but they should also allow people to own animals. The tragic accident of your son was an accepted risk. If he was in the cage then it was by his choice. You use the event as a crutch to further the animal rights agenda which is wrong. While you spoke before the Senate i asked myself how did one manage to pay off such a huge hospital bill and yet have money to move to ohio. Many of your statements i found questionable. How much did you receive from hsus? I guess we’ll find out when their tax form is analyzed.
      Your son loved animals and i think he would support us, not this bill. We love our animals that is why we fight for them.

  5. FED-UP & PO’d farmer: Currently there is HB 14 that addresses the issue of dogs, no longer considering any specific breed dangerous but holding all dogs to the same level of required specification that current exotic animal owners are expected based on the microchipping,license registering, vet. records, acquiring insurance, having fences installed, etc. based on differing levels:Nuisance, Dangerous, and Vicious.
    I know this because it was in my local newspaper and I read through the bill with great interest. In case you were wondering, it is a bill being considered in the Ohio House of Representatives. You might find it interesting to read how the state of Ohio is addressing this issue also.

    • There is NO ban on dog ownership or ANYTHING REMOTELY close to what the government is trying to impose on Exotic owners. If there WERE to be similar regulations, dog owners would create such an uproar that NONE of the officials would EVER be elected again. So a danger FAR greater than exotic animals pose is NOT being addressed-the same with the VAST greater danger of vehicular deaths…NOR should ANY more bans be put into affect-the simple truth is that living itself is dangerous, and passing regulations and laws are just strangling the rights and freedoms of the American people. We dont need any more regulations-we need our freedom. If you feel you have the right to ban a freedom for so called safety-put your money where your mouth is and stop driving your vehicle. You are endagering my life and the lives of countless other people every time you drive a vehicle…lets not be hippocritical.
      Also, Sam Mazzola and Terry Thompson are not available to defend theirselves so anything said regarding matters about them should NOT be taken as truth. There are ALWAYS 2 sides to every story, and they are unable to give their side. They died under VERY mysterious circumstances and many people who personally knew them are convinced there was foul play involved and a complete lack of thorough investigation of their deaths.

      You may be eager to live in a communistic government and throw our constitutional rights away, but I and many others will fight for our freedoms and rights. It is sad that so many have died protecting our freedoms then others like yourself are so eager to throw those same freedoms away….I find this extremely sickening and tragic. It is the downfall of a once great nation.

  6. Thank you Polly for bringing this to my attention and correcting my error. I am sure the rest of the readers will appreciate this information also.

  7. I have never received nor have I ever asked any person, organization, or place for money for speaking out or received money as a result of my son’s death. In fact, in recognition of the one year anniversary of Brent’s death we held a Memorial Benefit and donated the proceeds to help exotic animals.
    Keith, if you had listened very carefully when I was at the hearing I stated that per the investigative report Brent was never in the cage. All the evidence at the scene displayed that Brent had been attacked outside of the cage. Sam Mazzola was the only one who ever stated that Brent was inside of the cage. Sam Mazzola spinned his own version of accounts to the media and anyone who would listen to cover himself and his interests. Sam was no where to be found until the next day and that was after he had called a press conference to meet him outside of his place with his attorney present.
    I apologize for the error related to the interstate that runs along Mr. Thompson’s property.

    • Keith,
      I attended the hearing that I was able to and stayed and listened to several testimonies. I was even impressed that Joe Schriebvogel made a remark towards myself about my ability to allow my 24 year old son to work at Sam’s place. I did not know that a 24 year old requires their Mother’s permission to work anywhere to make money. In fact, I had no idea that Brent had been going out to Mr. Mazzola’s to make extra money on his days off from his real job that I had been aware of. In fact, Brent had only been to Mr. Mazzola’s place 1 or 2 times prior to his death after having no contact with Mr. Mazzola in over a year.

      • I had always heard, read in the media, etc., that Brent had taken the bear out of the cage to feed it. I always wondered why he did that, whether it was standard practice because the bear was trained, etc. It never made sense to me that you’d take a bear out of its cage to feed it. If Sam had still had his USDA license and was following the USDA reg’s, I doubt very much that taking a bear out of its cage for feeding would have been an acceptable procedure.

      • Butch,
        On any tax report: No money received as a result of Brent’s death or for my speaking out. Plain and Simple in Black and White. Is this concept so hard to accept?

  8. In a statement from OSHA that I received Mr. Mazzola had been instructed to:

    “Strictly prohibit free contact with dangerous and exotic animals. Practice “protected contact” at all times by using holding areas or “shifting cages” when caregivers feed the animals, clean their cages, or perform other animal servicing activities.”

    OSHA had also continued with the following towards Mr. Mazzola:

    “Note that OSHA was unable to confirm an employee/employer relationship between Mr. Kandra and your establishment, thus we are unable to issue your establishment a citation for this fatal event. This could change should you employ caregivers in the future and expose them to such serious hazards.”

    Other agencies involved in the investigation did eventually find that Mr. Mazzola had paid Brent for services rendered at his farm and had contacted me personally with this information. Before Mr. Mazzola’s untimely death he was also found to have violated his probation requirements with the USDA regarding the events of Brent’s death, actions Mr. Mazzola took after Brent’s death, and public statements that Mr. Mazzola had made and continued to make after Brent’s death.
    Mr. Mazzola was facing an uncertain future in court for his many actions he had committed.

    The findings in the investigation by the different agencies after Brent’s death may have set a precedent for future incidents that involve human injury/death in regards to exotic animal care and interaction. Brent’s death here in Ohio had opened a doorway among different agencies into the business of Exotic Animal ownership and despite the tragedy that occurred in Zanesville, Ohio changes and future incidents were going to result in significant changes and or findings related to the exotic animal industry.

    There was even a documentary that was released called, “Pinned,” that provided some footage and interviews with Mr. Mazzola related to his feeding of his animals and his belief related to his business of wrestling bears with humans for profit. Mr. Mazzola may not have been the smartest person when it came to exotic animal ownership, but he did promote himself publicly as representing your collective group of animal owners and as a result he drew, as a member of your community/organization, negative attention to this practice. Even with Brent’s death, Mr. Mazzola spinned his own accounts to publicly draw attention to this practice. If it had not been for Mr. Mazzola constantly seeking out media attention and the circumstances and objective evidence of what I had seen with my own eyes immediately after Brent’s death I “might” have been able to put closure to this concept of exotic animal ownership. The reality is that events took place immediately after Brent’s death that resulted in myself becoming personally involved. Not to mention that the event surrounding Brent’s death at the time did not initiate laws already being considered related to this practice because meetings and talks had taken place prior to Brent’s death.

    Brent’s death opened my eyes and because of his death I personally became involved in learning and finding out about this practice. With any change that has ever occurred in history there has been an incident that effected someone personally to begin a chain reaction that brought about change. Everyone reacts and deals with life changing events differently according to that person’s coping mechanisms, intelligence, and beliefs.

    I am not the person that is the result of what is occurring here in Ohio, but I am the person who is standing up for what “I believe” is the right thing to do so that no one else is severely injured or killed as a result of a group of people who chose to own these type of predatory animals. History is built upon this concept and the future will be unfolded as more people become effected or develop a strong belief that changes need to occur regardless of what the circumstances that brought them to this belief. Change is always occurring everyday in many aspects of our lives and change will always continue due to our ability as humans to learn from our mistakes.

    • And as responsible owners, we are the people standing up for what we believe is the right thing to do. Responsible owners should not be punished for the deeds of others. We should be treated with respect and dignity. We did not cause the death of anyone. If your son was with the animal alone than he took the risk of his own free will. If he did not beark the rules of the facility and was left alone, he should have exited the area immeaditly. If he took the animal out of his cage without consent and someone to be there as a safe guard, he again took the risk of his own free will.

      You are correct that change is always occurring everyday in many aspects of our lives and change will always continue due to our ability as humans to learn from our mistakes. This bill is a mistake and we must change the minds of those that have no knowledge to true responsible animal husbandry practices. Many owners have existed for 50+ years without a single incident, because they practice responsible ownership. This bill will not make people responsible, it shuts down responsible owners. We can not make people resposibile owners no more than we can make HSUS give more than 1% of their budget to actually help animals. Strange how they can dump over 1.5 million dollars into a ballot campaign but can’t come up with 10,000 dollars to donate to local shelters.

      It’s a shame that your vision is clouded by misconceptions of responsbile animal owners, we have existed many years in Ohio without issue, some of us even grew into AZA accredited zoo’s and many responsible animal owners go on to become TV Icons.

  9. Mr. Mazzola’s practices were certainly not representative of the exotic animal industry. I know of no other owner who would take an adult bear out of its cage in order to feed it. I found your testimony at the exotic animal bill hearing to be compelling, yet legislation that is passed in a knee-jerk reaction to a particular incident, especially an incident that is so out-of-the-norm, is seldom good legislation. The Ohio legislature needs to closely examine this bill in light of the damage it will do to the federally licensed and inspected professional animal facilities as well as to the private owners who are doing things right, not taking an adult bear out of its cage in order to feed it.

  10. Polly,
    Mr. Mazzola and Mr. Thompson inadvertently did become representatives of your industry because:
    1. They were well established exotic animal owners with a history in the business and organization and resident’s of Ohio.

    2. Two incidents occurred here in Ohio in little over a year that resulted in deaths ( one human and 48 animals) due to bad husbandry practices and not practicing safety standards set up among this group of animal keepers (Mr. Mazzola and Mr. Thompson).

    3. Both Mr. Mazzola and Mr. Thompson’s actions alerted the resident’s of Ohio and around the world of wide spread media coverage highlighting the dangers associated with this group of exotic animal keeping and the lack of regulations and laws maintaining a checks and balance of the group in preventing another tragedy as set up by the State of Ohio. As it has already been established, not every owner of these types of animals falls under the regulation of the USDA unless they are exhibiting these types of animals or are profiting from types of animals.

    4. Due to 2 incidents occurring in little over a year in one state by established exotic animal owners the group representing exotic animal owners, their business practices, and animal keeping went under a microscope for all to inquire about, think about, and come to their own conclusions about how to prevent future tragedies from occurring again.

    5. The process that Ohio initiated in looking into this matter started before Mr. Thompson’s tragedy, but as a result called for a public outcry for this matter to be addressed without delay. It was the outcry from the resident’s of Ohio that resulted in this process taking top priority.

    Regardless of how I feel or how your group feels about this topic matter of owning exotic animals a law will eventually be voted on and approved. Instead of concentrating on the financial loss and impact this might have on the economy here in Ohio and to people personally
    the focus of your group would have made a more compelling case in my opinion if you had all gotten together and presented how your group was going to fix the monitoring and standards of regulating this select group of owner’s to protect and prevent any such tragedy from occurring again within the state of Ohio. Being proactive instead of defensive.

    6. And lastly from my stand point regarding this topic- Mr. Mazzola and Mr. Thompson became the focus of what type of person would purchase these types of animals, profit from them, and or fight against agencies of authority related to their practice. Shows on t.v. are frequently depicting hoarder’s and their personality or mental flaws in providing with rationales on why they do what they do. This inadvertently reflects badly on the group as a whole whether it is right or not.

    As I have stated before, I have respect for the person who is in this type of animal keeping for the sole purpose of rescuing these animals and insuring that they have a good quality of life for the remainder of their life. These animals did not choose to be caged or kept as pets. I have respect for the person who did not go out and purchase these animals under the pretense that they are protecting them from other people purchasing them for other inhumane practices. I also have respect for the person who has evolved in their understanding and keeping of these animals initially as pets to wanting to rescue and provide humane care to these types of animals without maintaining their standard of living and means of support from using these animals for profit.

    And unfortunately it is not only Mr. Mazzola and Mr. Thompson that highlights the dangers of this practice among this group of animal owners but t.v. shows such as “Fatal attractions” and “I am Alive” that has highlighted the dangers associated with this type of animal keeping as a pet or business. The show “Fatal Attractions” has had several shows regarding incidents of exotic animal owners here in Ohio alone excluding Mr. Mazzola and Mr. Thompson’s actions or lack of actions and thrusting the spotlight on Ohio exotic animal ownership.

    Lastly, people who speak out in representation of the Ohio exotic animal owners have displayed negative arguments and defense due to lashing out with credible threats against others who may not share their same views or beliefs. They focus on all these formulated beliefs and ideas striking out at organizations and individuals that are not in alignment with their own agenda rather than focusing their energy on presenting a positive argument of how this group can regulate itself and bring about change that can be conducive to all parties regardless of their stance on the issue. I believe that if this group had pulled together and focused their energies in a more positive manner than perhaps the reality facing us today and tomorrow would have been much different. This change would have been smart after the much publicized death of my son….. but little was done and the focus of some of your members were to bring attention elsewhere. I did notice some of the owner’s efforts to counter the negative attention Mr. Mazzola had brought about to this practice with the usage of media.

    I believe that I have made my points and would have never responded had I not been invited with the mentioning of myself by Keith or articles written regarding the death of my son in this publication.
    I do respect the majority of your group for their efforts and willingness to fight for what they believe in regardless of whether we share the same values and belief systems because this is what a Democracy is about and how change occurs.

  11. I would not say the Zanesville incident was a result of bad husbandry practices; it was a deliberate release of animals. Two completely different situations.
    As you say, not everyone falls under USDA regulation, which is why our organization has proposed that ALL owners, from the public zoos on down to the “pet” owners, be required to meet the same standards that USDA has in place. No exemptions for anyone, everyone would have to meet the same standards. We’ve done precisely what you’ve suggested — we’ve gotten together and drafted a sub-bill that will establish appropriate standards of care, housing and security so tht the animals and the public are protected. Unfortunately, the Governor is not really interested in all that; his prime objective isn’t to keep the animals and the public safe, but to rid Ohio of these animals, period.
    Our members believe in private enterprise, which includes commerce in animals — farm animals, pets, and yes, exotics. We advocate responsible ownership, humane care, and regulations that are fair and consistent across the industry. I honestly do feel that some of the animal “rights” groups have capitalized on your situation to promote an agenda that has little to do with animal welfare but a whole lot to do with attacking legal, professional animal facilities and their owners, just as they’re doing across the whole country, not only in the exotic animal world but the livestock industry as well.

  12. Deirdre 1st thing I am not a farmer nor a Exotics Animal Breeder I am factory worker I have no animals other than my kid has a gold fish One fish I have read the a lot of things about your group HSUS and PETA and other animal rights groups how you drive up food cost for the poor middle class people cant eat What great movie makers you are Mr. Harrison with his 30 year old movie you sudden concern for Ohio’s safely I went to the State House last night you should have gotten a Oscar for the saving Ohio what are you saving us from your kind need to go back to CA. and all we can do is how that a big wave comes along and washes the State with it cage free eggs cage free pigs cage free beef and by the way you group i read got gold fish ban in CA. how many years down the road before you do that here also Deirdre I to got a copy of the corners report you forgot to tell them Brent was full of Cocaine I didn’t care one thing about the Exotic animals in Ohio but Your group with the lies I got Mad when Troy Balderson and John Kasich took it up on themselves to take personal property they stepped over the line then Your Group step over the line to many times I think you now have drawn a line you will be hard pressed to find one Ohioan that will stand by and have their personal property taken by are government

    When you and your group have drove up the cost of food in this country so high we cant’ afford it and kids are dying on the streets I hope you can sleep knowing you had a part in it


    • Terry T.,

      I am glad that you attended the meeting last night and wanted to be a participant/observer of Ohio’s legislative process as a bill is being considered giving the people of Ohio the opportunity to provide their input on a subject matter, regardless of what side of fence compelled you to participate.

      I am not a member by dues or fees to any organization. I have developed beautiful friendships with members of select groups due to my seeking out knowledge and becoming active in speaking out on how this issue has effected me personally. I am sure that if I had the pleasure of getting to know any of the people who oppose this bill I might be inclined to have a lasting friendship with them despite our difference in opinions or beliefs. In fact, I interacted with a few people last night who were there against the bill and felt that they were genuine in their beliefs/opinions and interacted with kindness and civility towards myself. I have often re-evaluated my thoughts and always take into consideration another person’s views if it holds validity and makes common sense to me.

      I went to great effort to provide a written testimony last night with excerpts included from the coroner’s report and investigative report so that the few who knew all about my son’s death could be enlighten to the true details of what happened and discovered rather than the gossip and mislead information provided by Mr. Mazzola in countless media interviews. The Agricultural Committee members each received an actual copy of the coroner’s report and the investigative report. Included in the actual coroner’s report was the toxicology report stating that no drugs of any form were found from the blood sample they acquired at the hospital when he was first brought in. In cases were a fatal accident or death occurs the hospital is obligated to take and keep a sample for testing. This is a standard practice anymore with any hospital admission or per a doctor’s order.

      The topic of cage free farming (which I believe your are talking about battery cage farming) is a whole different subject manner. There is a lot of medical evidence related to the long term ingestion of these type of farm raised animals and their by-products that causes great concern for the ordinary consumer and our young children.
      We are already dealing with antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria and prematurely developing reproductive organs in young girls due to the practice of using antibiotics and hormones in the feeding and caring of dairy cows on big dairy farms. There was just a study released regarding the testing of battery raised chickens testing positive for drugs such as prozac, narcotics, and other medications in the meat that we would purchase and consume. As a result, people are speaking out or choosing to purchase organic raised meat or produce because they have a concern about what they are ingesting. The average person would not be able to purchase this type of food on a regular basis and many are now returning to growing their own produce to cook and can for future consumption just as many of our mothers and grandmothers have done for us growing up.

      I am not knowledgeable about every issue that farmer’s face but I do try to read and educate myself related to issues that I see as being important to myself.

  13. Deirdre So what you are saying is people in up town manhattan can raise a few pigs and chickens for their own use? I have seen a bull on wall street but no cows

    Have looked at the cost of organic food Tell me how a single mother feed her family a Organic chicken dinner I went to the store last night because I knew you would start this organic food thing To feed a family a chicken dinner with Organic Chicken, Potatoes, noodles and bread at The local store would cost you $31.73 The same meal buying the store brand food is $16.28 I added both from the same store A store you can find any where in Ohio Now

    Deidre I have a few Questions for you

    1st How much money do you think a single mother makes working at a Store

    2nd You and your animal rights group say eat organic food tell me how many meals can she fix making $9.00 a hour on a 40 hr week that’s $360.00 before taxes

    Your Organic dinners cost $31.73 x 7 = $222.11 just dinner what about breakfast lunch

    3rd You tell me how she puts a roof over their heads clothes on their back when your Animal Rights Groups push Organic

    I would like for you to answer the question short and to the point don’t run around like you all are so good at doing no big long story no bull

    You think your way of life is your way of life I don’t push meat eating I don’t push vegan on any one

    The fact is Most of The USA is not making thousands of dollars most of us are just making it and you Groups that you so proudly support do push a way of life The the average Joe can’t afford We have House payments Car Payments School clothes Medical Bills and yes feed are Family’s

    When will your friend understand animal are raised by farmers that care about them Farmers that want to see their job done right And if you forgot their Job is to feed this country and feed the world

    • Terry T.

      I am not nor have I ever stated that I am an expert on farmer’s and their plight of maintaining their existence in today’s competitive market. I eat meat and I eat produce- all of which comes from a farm somewhere here in the United States.

      I provided you with an example per your suggestion in your first post related to caging animals. I did not stray away from the main topic of exotic animals- you initiated it with your first statement.

      Terry, I feel for the farmers in today’s business world. I worked with a son of a farmer and would listen intently to the stories of the difficulties they were facing, how the son would plow the land from sun up to sun down and then come into work and put in a 16 hour shift. I would listen as he told me how they downsized the amount of hogs they would raise and how expensive it was to get new equipment when the old equipment broke down. Many of today’s farmers are working another job while trying to maintain and keep their own farm.
      I learned from him about how the winters not being cold enough would present a problem with insects in the warmer months and how the excessive rain or no rain made putting in crops difficult. There are so many factors a farmer faces that the average person has no idea when they are sitting down to the dinner each night.
      I have a girlfriend who ended up divorced and a single mother who owned many acres of land and several barns and worked full time on night shift for many years while raising two daughters. The insurance company started giving her a hard time after one year of bad storms that caused her buildings and home significant damage and threatened to drop her if she turned in anymore claims. She would rent out parcels of her property to other farmers and would let other farmers house cows in her barns. Eventually the property became to much for her and she ended up selling her place before the recession was in full swing. I spent many a day listening to her tell me the different expenses she needed to cover and things that needed addressed that the average person would not consider is the reality of land ownership in a farming community.

      Terry, I was a single mother who worked several jobs while putting myself through college so that I could obtain a job that meant something to me and would afford me the ability to raise my children. Single mothers have many difficulties they face and sacrifices they endure to make sure that their children are taken care of to the best of their ability.

      I was not born into a family of wealth, I was never feed from a silver spoon. In fact, I grew up very poor and spent many a winter without water because the pump froze resulting in my father having to obtains spring water from an area park until he could get the pump thawed out. I started working at the age of 12 years doing whatever I could to earn money from a neighbor and delivered papers so that I would be able to have clothes and shoes. I have had more hardships and tragedies occur that I had to overcome and learn by to make it to where I am today. I learned by these life experiences and instead of using them as a crutch I set goals of how I was going to get past this and make things better.

      Terry, I explain myself clearly so there is no misunderstanding of the message I am trying to get across in response to a statement or question presented. I apologize if I am wrong and try to correct myself when my error has been pointed out.

      If you took the time to read my comments previously or in response to you, I already addressed some of these points you want to debate.

      I am glad that you are passionate about what you believe in and think is right. If enough people cared about what was important to them we might be living in a different society today….. so continue to speak out and stand tall for what you believe in and I will continue to educate myself, speak out, and stand tall for what I believe in.

  14. We need to try and work together to fight the USDA and the AR groups like HSUS. Everyone that owns any kind of animal from a dog to a horse to a cow and even a fish, needs to come together.The laws that effect one group of animal owner effects us all.They will destroy all ownership of animals in the end this is thier goal.


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