The Animal Planet TV series "Call of the Wildman" has previously been accused of abusing and drugging animals used for its staged "real" rescues.
According to internal show documents and a photo recently obtained by Mother Jones, the show's producers, Sharp Entertainment, may have violated Kentucky wildlife regulations over the treatment of a sick coyote.
The sick coyote was trapped and held for at least three days in a tiny cage, the person who provided the picture told Mother Jones.
Sharp Entertainment claims it does not hold captured wildlife for more than 48 hours, per Kentucky law, but Mother Jones says the photo's metadata and Sharp's own production notes show the photo was shot about 84 hours before filming.
By the time shooting began on May 10, 2013, in Waddy, Ky., the coyote was "sick and unresponsive," say two people who worked on the show.
"That bit sickens me," an unidentified source told Mother Jones.
The licensed nuisance wildlife control operator who originally caught the sick coyote did not have a permit to allow the coyote to be held more than 48 hours, reports Mother Jones.
"The animal was just sitting there, so they had to get another coyote fairly quickly," added a second unidentified source.
Mother Jones reports that a new coyote was brought in from Ohio, even though Kentucky normally bans the importation of coyotes from other states, except in the cases of zoos and education organizations.
In response to Mother Jones, Dan Adler, a vice president at Sharp Entertainment, stated, "On the day in question you bring up, a licensed NWCO officer arrived to a location with a coyote he had caught after receiving a nuisance call, and when he brought it to us, the licensed NWCO officers on set moved it from the smaller cage it was caught in to an appropriately sized cage. The coyote in question was determined to be sick by the licensed officers on location. The determination was made not to film with it because production policy is not to film with sick or injured animals."
However, neither Animal Planet and Sharp Entertainment would respond to additional questions about importing the replacement coyote from Ohio.
Ironically, the replacement coyote (from Ohio) in the episode was demonized by Examiner.com. "Turtleman confronted another frightening coyote that was killing a farmer's calves," reads its article. "The coyote was cornered in a barn, which made the whole scene more dangerous and frightening."