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Lion hunter's dentist office reopens in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS -- A Twin Cities dental office run by a doctor involved in a controversial lion hunt last month is back open for business, without its lead dentist, CBS Minnesota reports.

Dr. Walter Palmer's office, River Bluff Dental in Bloomington, released a statement Monday saying it is "beginning to serve our loyal patients." Dr. Palmer is not on site. The statement says, "We are dental professionals committed to serve our patients and clients. Our office is private property, and we ask the press to stay off of the property and respect the peace of mind of our patients and clients.

"River Bluff Dental is a private business. The employees and patients wish to get back to business as usual to serve our clients and patients, and maintain the jobs of dedicated professionals," the statement reads.

Dr. Palmer was at the center of worldwide controversy and across social media circles after it was discovered he paid two tour guides $55,000 in Zimbabwe to go on a lion hunt. A beloved animal, Cecil the Lion, was fatally hit with a crossbow. Allegations of poaching surfaced as Palmer and his tour guides were accused of luring the lion out of a secured area.

Palmer's dentist office had been closed ever since the incident became public, and animal rights protesters held a rally at the business in the days after. In another form of protest, several stuffed animals were placed in front of the business as well as Palmer's Twin Cities home. There was also damage done to his home in Florida.

Palmer has not been charged with any crimes in connection with the hunt.

Killing of Cecil the lion raises questions about conservation

Last week, the Animal Legal Defense Fund said it filed a complaint alleging that Palmer brought disrepute to Minnesota's dental profession and should have his license revoked.

As of early Monday afternoon, it's been a quiet day at the dental office with business getting back to normal despite Palmer not being on site. The business did hire a private security guard to be at the business for the day as a precaution.

Dr. Palmer's office was open for patients starting at about 9 a.m. At least five patients arrived for appointments, but none wanted to make a comment on Palmer.

Zimbabwe links second American to separate lion killing

But two tourists visiting Minnesota from Texas and Seattle, Wash., had plenty to say when they stopped by the office.

"We're from Texas where people hunt but I sort of feel like it was the guides, their responsibility to protect their country's laws," one woman said.

"If you were my dentist I would find a new dentist just because I wouldn't want to support that," another woman said.