Animal Planet’s Ernie “Turtleman” Brown Jr. of “Call of the Wildman” has been accused of grotesque abuse to animals that have appeared on his show. The host has been accused of nearly starving three raccoons regulars, as well as drugging a zebra from the Franklin Drive Thru Safari. Kentucky officials have warned Brown against endangering animals, but he has continued the abuse nonetheless.
“Call of the Wildman” is one of Animal Planet’s newer programs that involve animals in a reality TV setting. Those close to the show have said that it is anything but reality TV, with animal rescues being planted and exaggerated to make for more dramatic episodes. The raccoons found under a house in an episode were actually caught and planted there, as were other animals in future segments.
But the reality of the episodes is not the most egregious matter; instead the condition of the animals as they make their way through production and beyond has outraged critics. The three aforementioned raccoons ended up in emergency care at the Kentucky Wildlife Center after being in the care of Brown and his staff. The orphaned coons were emaciated and just holding onto life, two were luckily resuscitated after a blood plasma transfusion, but the third died. And the zebra was so heavily drugged with sedatives that it could barely walk.
Kentucky laws require production companies to provide food, drink and healthcare to animals, but the state has been ranked the worst for animal protection due to a lack of enforcement of their own laws. The federal government is looking into these allegations.