Captive Black Bear Kills Pennsylvania Woman

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) -- A woman was killed by a captive 350-pound black bear as she cleaned its cage Sunday night, officials said Monday as they revealed her husband, an exotic pet dealer, was operating with an expired license.

Kelly Ann Walz, 37, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Tim Conway, an information and education supervisor with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Michael Walz's license to keep and sell exotic animals expired in June of 2008, Conway said. He called the lapse a technicality.

Walz, who has been licensed since 1994, reported to authorities in 2007 that he kept a lion, cougar, jaguar, tiger, black bear, leopard and two servals on the property in Ross Township, a rural area in the Pocono Mountains, about 20 miles northeast of Allentown.

Kelly Ann Walz went into the bear's 15-by-15-foot steel and concrete cage about 5 p.m. Sunday, throwing a shovelful of dog food to one side to distract the bear while she cleaned the other side, Conway said. At some point the bear turned on her and attacked.

Her children and the neighbor's children saw the attack and summoned help, and the neighbor shot and killed the bear while it was atop Walz, Conway said.

"Why this woman chose to go in the same area that the bear was in is beyond me. It's a fatal mistake," he said. "These things are not tame animals, they're wild animals."

Owners of wild animals typically have a two-section cage, allowing them to isolate the animal behind a locked gate while they clean the other part, Conway said.

Michael Walz is listed in state corporation records as the president of World of Reptiles Inc. The business was created in 1988.

A man who answered the phone at a listing for Michael Walz said the family did not want to comment.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by D-Nice Location: Dallas,TX on Oct 7, 2009 at 07:44 AM
    You're an idiot Tarhell. You have no heart at all!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • by Wolfgang Location: Chocowinity,NC on Oct 5, 2009 at 06:48 PM
    What gets me is the money. How much would it cost everyday to keep this Bear fed? Get a house Gold Fish bowl.
  • by Cactus Location: Strabane on Oct 5, 2009 at 06:28 PM
    This is not a stupid inbred dog, this is a wild animal, what part of wild do you not understand?
  • by TarHeel Location: Ayden on Oct 5, 2009 at 05:38 PM
    The only sad thing about this story is that the bear was killed. The bear never asked to be caged up. The woman was an idiot for going in the cage. Bear 1, Woman 0.
  • by Wildisnottamed Location: Your House on Oct 5, 2009 at 04:31 PM
    Why are people sooo STUPID when it comes to wild animals? Anyone who keeps bears in captivity and think they can tame them are just plain arrogant and again....STUPID. Why didn't her husband be a man and clean it himself???
  • by Hunter on Oct 5, 2009 at 04:25 PM
    Has everyone forgot about the GRAPE APE that literally tore the face off of a woman almost a year ago.They are WILD animals that can not be domesticated! PIT BULLS,LIONS,TIGERS,BEARS OH MY!
  • by Animal Lover Location: Greenville on Oct 5, 2009 at 02:21 PM
    Do NOT ever support animals in captivity...
  • by Anonymous on Oct 5, 2009 at 12:36 PM
    THIS IS THE RISK YOU TAKE. I hate it for her kids but she was not following procedure which was her fatal mistake. There should always be another adult present when cages are being entered for any reason and you should aways take precautions. THEY ARE WILD ANIMALS.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 5, 2009 at 12:33 PM
    I am sorry to hear of the womans death and her families loss. What do not people under stand about "WILD" animals?
  • by Tracy Location: NB on Oct 5, 2009 at 12:02 PM
    I don't understand why licenses are even issued for such cruelty. I'm sorry for the loss of this womens life, but wild animals should be left wild not confined to pace around in circles day after day. That's enough to make anything snap.
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