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Posted: Monday, 27 January 2014 7:50AM

'Turtleman' facing scrutiny over animal welfare

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky's "Turtleman" is facing federal scrutiny after a magazine report claimed animals were harmed while filming his reality TV show on Animal Planet.

"Call of the Wildman" features Ernie "Turtleman" Brown removing nuisance animals with his bare hands.

An article published Tuesday at Motherjones.com, claims the show stages fake rescue situations that sometimes harm animals. It also claims a baby raccoon and several bats died after being used on the show.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports (http://bit.ly/1fd32c7) the U.S. Agriculture Department, which enforces the Animal Welfare Act, is reviewing the situation.

A spokeswoman for Animal Planet told the paper that the safety of the animals is the channel's top priority. She also said the show's producers have hired a federally licensed wildlife handler to be on the set at all times.

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