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Politicians Speak Out On The Death Of Cecil The Lion

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Politicians in Minnesota and across the country are sounding off on the death of a protected African lion at the hands of a Twin Cities dentist.

Gov. Mark Dayton commented Tuesday on the killing of Cecil the lion by Dr. Walter Palmer, calling the act "appalling."

"Just horrible," Dayton said. "I'm just so disgusted with that man, and shoot any lion but to lure a lion like that out of the preserve and shoot him, I mean, how could anybody think that's sport?"

Sen. Al Franken took to Twitter Wednesday on the topic.

Rep. Betty McCollum, the co-chair of the International Congressional Conservation Caucus, wants the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to investigate Dr. Palmer.

"To bait and kill a threatened animal, like this African lion, for sport cannot be called hunting but rather a disgraceful display of callous cruelty," McCollum said. "I strongly believe the U.S. Attorneys' Office and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should investigate whether U.S. laws were violated related to conspiracy, bribery of foreign officials and the illegal hunting of a protected species or animal."

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Twitter Wednesday that Palmer and the men who helped him poach the lion should face jail time.

And Florida Sen. Marco Rubio took a different spin on the controversy Wednesday by comparing it to another politically-sensitive topic.

Several celebrities also tweeted condemnations of Dr. Palmer, and the animal rights organization PETA went as far as to call for the hanging of the Bloomington dentist and his co-conspirators.

Click here for a look at other Minnesotans who have faced charges of illegal hunting.

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