Dr. Mehmet Oz has been called a lot of nasty things over the course of his career as a television personality-turned-aspiring politician: quack, creep, serial testicle fondler, incest advocate, and New Jerseyite being just a few of them. But “dog murderer” is the label that’s likely to inflict the most harm on Oz and his chances of winning a senate seat in a state he doesn’t inhabit.
While Dr. Oz’s tenure as a daytime TV talk show host made him a target of the scientific community for his tendency to make misleading or outright false medical claims, he was indeed an active part of the very real scientific community for many years via the Columbia University Institute of Comparative Medicine. And after an investigation into the work he did there, Jezebel found that the aspiring senator was responsible for brutally killing more than 325 dogs, including an entire litter of puppies.
With rumors of the senatorial candidate’s medical experiments being talked about on social media, Jezebel dug into the details of 75 studies published by Dr. Oz between 1989 and 2010 and learned that the truth about those internet rumors is actually much more disturbing. As Kylie Cheung wrote for the site:
Oz, the New Jersey resident who’s currently running for U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania, was a “principal investigator” at the Columbia University Institute of Comparative Medicine labs for years and assumed “full scientific, administrative, and fiscal responsibility for the conduct” of his studies. Over the course of 75 studies published in academic journals reviewed by Jezebel, Oz’s team conducted experiments on at least 1,027 live animal subjects that included dogs, pigs, calves, rabbits, and small rodents. Thirty-four of these experiments resulted in the deaths of at least 329 dogs, while two of his experiments killed 31 pigs, and 38 experiments killed 661 rabbits and rodents.
Veterinarian Catherine Dell’Orto was a postdoctoral veterinary fellow at Columbia during Dr. Oz’s tenure, and actually blew the whistle on what she deemed to be violations of the Animal Welfare Act which, according to Jezebel, “sets minimum standards of care for dogs, cats, primates, rabbits, and other animals in the possession of animal dealers and laboratories.” Standards which Dr. Oz ignored.
Mehmet Oz was investigated & fined for his sick & abusive experiments on dogs.
Among his violations, he pumped injections into puppies hearts without sedation. People noted the puppies screams could be heard through closed doors, then he left them dead in a plastic garbage bag.
— Kyla in the Burgh (@KylaInTheBurgh) September 9, 2022
Dell’Orto came to Columbia in 2001 and, according to a 2004 article in Newsday, “raised multiple objections with a senior veterinarian” about the treatment of the medical facility’s animals within weeks of her arrival. “They just pooh-poohed me and told me I was new in the field and couldn’t be too emotional about it,” Dell’Orto said at the time.
Eventually, Dell’Orto escalated her complaints then went directly to the USDA, which is in charge of enforcing the Animal Welfare Act, and also shared her story with PETA and The Humane Society of the United States.
In May 2004, the USDA levied a paltry $2,000 fine against Columbia University for multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The fine, writes Cheung, “was the result of a settlement between the university and the USDA, based on the findings of Columbia’s internal investigation of Oz’s research. The USDA accepted these findings, but according to Dell’Orto, the review was faulty, and ‘had investigators on the committee that were also complicit in this type of poorly designed, cruel animal experimentation.’”
Just last month, Dell’Orto told Billy Penn that Oz did not personally euthanize the hundreds of dogs and puppies in question. But she noted that, “When your name is on the experiment, and the way the experiment is designed inflicts such cruelty to these animals, by design, there’s a problem.”
Jezebel reached out to both Columbia’s office of communications and public affairs and Oz’s campaign team for comment; while Columbia declined to participate, Team Oz has yet to respond.