PETA Calls for Investigation of Animal Planet Show for Violating Wildlife Laws

Massillon Tie Found to Animal Abuse on Call of the Wildman

For Immediate Release:
March 28, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Massillon, Ohio

In order to film a segment of the Animal Planet series Call of the Wildman, a river otter was apparently exported to Kentucky from the notorious Stump Hill Farm in Massillon without the required permit. After being released in Harrodsburg, Ky., the otter whined and snarled while being chased and poked with a stick. Now, PETA has sent a formal complaint to the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) asking for an immediate investigation into possible violations of state laws.

“No animal should be harassed and potentially injured or killed for the sake of a TV show,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “By keeping this show on the air, the network might as well rebrand itself as ‘Cruelty-to-Animals Planet.’”

After the otter was released for filming, the show’s star, Ernie Brown Jr., chased the animal around a shed as the otter attempted to get away from him and hide—snarling and baring teeth in apparent distress. Brown repeatedly poked the animal with a stick, threw a canvas sack at the otter, scooped the critter into a net, and grabbed and lifted the otter by the tail until the animal finally ran into a live trap.

According to a new Mother Jones investigation, a coyote was captured for another episode of the show in Bowling Green, Ky., approximately 84 hours prior to filming and confined to a tiny cage in which the animal could barely move. The coyote was reportedly “weak and limping” and “sluggish and unresponsive” yet was transported to the filming location before being replaced by a coyote exported from Ohio. This coyote was clearly distressed throughout the scene, in which Brown drags—and even repeatedly lifts—the animal by the tail.

Call of the Wildman is already under investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Texas officials, and the city of Houston following complaints filed by PETA. PETA and nearly 65,000 of its members and supporters have called for the show’s cancellation—but Animal Planet has steadfastly refused to nix it.

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