Louisiana dentist mistaken for dentist who killed Cecil the Lion

Dr. James Palmer works on a patient at his practice in Homer, Louisiana (Photo: KSLA)

A Homer, Louisiana dentist and his family are receiving death threats following the controversial killing of a well known lion in Zimbabwe. Problem is, they have the wrong dentist.

“This is like a new kind of bullying I’ve never been exposed to,” said Dottie Palmer, the wife of Dr. James Palmer, a Homer dentist.

Cecil, the 13-year-old black-maned lion, was killed last month by big game hunter, and Minnesota dentist, Dr. Walter James Palmer. Cecil’s death sparked a firestorm of controversy and forced Dr. Palmer into hiding. It is also leading to death threats for other Dr. Palmers across the country, including in Louisiana.

Dr. James Palmer has been getting threats to his life, and his family’s lives. He received an e-mail Monday morning saying he is “dead on arrival, the world will hunt him, and he is a terrorist,” all because he shares a name, and profession with Dr. Walter Palmer.

“Hope you are toast. Hope someone targets, shoots on your inflated head, heartless and soulless being,” Dottie Palmer reads just one of the messages her husband has received in the past week.

Dottie Palmer is a hygienist, she works with her husband Dr. James Palmer at their practice in Homer, Louisiana. James Palmer is a dentist and now, because of strangers, he is being called a lion killer.

But, James Palmer is anything but.

“I used to enjoy hunting. Nowadays I more like to watch the animals than to hunt them,” said Dr. James Palmer.

Palmer is the victim of mistaken identity. People across the world believe he is Dr. Walter James Palmer, who is the Minnesota dentist who did kill Cecil the Lion.

“At first you know, I just said don’t worry about it. You know, was my first reaction, but as it goes on it starts to bother you and a couple of them have hoped that stuff happens to my children, and that’s upset them,” said Dr. James Palmer.

For the past week, the Palmer family has been getting death threats and threats against their business.

They have been mainly posted on Dr. James Palmer’s Facebook Page, which is named “Dr. James C. Palmer.” But they have also gotten e-mails and phone calls from all over the world.

Dottie Palmer has been responding to each negative post clarifying her husband’s innocence.

“I’m getting tired and you know, I’m constantly checking and saying ‘oh there’s another one’ and delete that one and oh I’ve got to respond to that one, and so you feel like you’re always on guard,” said Dottie Palmer.

The Palmers are just hoping the threats stop.

“You just never know how crazy people are, who would follow through and what were just idle threats,” said Dottie Palmer.

James Palmer says his patients have mostly stepped in to help defend him and his business. Dottie Palmer said once most of the people who messaged find out they had the wrong dentist, they apologized.

James Palmer did call Homer police after the first threats came through, asking them to step up patrols around his business and home. They also reported several of the Facebook comments to Facebook, but Facebook said there was nothing wrong with the posts.

Copyright 2015 KSLA. All rights reserved.

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