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Gisele Fetterman double-downs on charges that Mehmet Oz was cruel to puppies in medical research

Gisele Fetterman double-downs on charges that Oz was cruel to puppies in medical research
Gisele Fetterman double-downs on charges that Oz was cruel to puppies in medical research 02:39

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Accusations that Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz abused animals, including puppies, while doing medical research have exploded on social media.

In an exclusive interview with KDKA-TV political editor Jon Delano, Gisele Fetterman, wife of Democratic candidate John Fetterman, double-downed on the charge.

Delano: "Are you saying that Dr. Oz killed puppies?"

Gisele Fetterman: "The allegations say that the puppies were handled in an extremely cruel way. They were left to die in garbage bags. They actually violated several animal welfare laws."

Gisele Fetterman admits she has no firsthand knowledge of Oz's alleged animal cruelty while doing medical research when he led the cardiovascular institute at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York.

But reports from Billy Penn, a newsletter of WHYY Public Radio in Philadelphia, and Jezebel, an edgy online magazine, have social media on fire.

"It's heartbreaking to read," says Gisele Fetterman.

Dr. Catherine Dell'Orto, a veterinarian who worked with Oz at Columbia, says Oz used dogs to model human cardiac failure, speeding up their heart rates, then applying experimental treatments, including surgery, to them.

"He (Dr. Oz) was the principal investigator on these experiments. ... They (the dogs) suffered quite a bit prior to death, and a lot of them were just found dead in the cages," Dell'Orto told Billy Penn.

At the time, an investigative committee of Columbia did find that puppies were "not properly sedated" and "were euthanized with outdated euthanasia solution."

Columbia ultimately paid a $2,000 fine, but Oz is not mentioned in the citation.

KDKA-TV reached out to the Oz campaign for a response on animal cruelty charges, but they had only this response: "Who is Gisele? Is she running for something?"

Gisele Fetterman, who has two rescue dogs with their own Twitter account, says this whole story saddens her.

"Last night, I really held onto my dogs extra hard and showed them all the love I could. To know that there are people that could do these cruel things in the world makes me really just sad," she said.

Obviously, the rules are different for medical researchers, and, again, no direct evidence that Oz personally did anything illegal. 

Nearly 40 percent of Pennsylvania households own a dog, including Fetterman and Oz.  

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