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Dr. Mehmet Oz (Photo by World Economic Forum | CC BY-SA 2.0).

Mehmet Oz — better known as TV personality Dr. Oz, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania — was found to be the “principal investigator” in a series of studies that killed more than 300 dogs. 

Jezebel's investigation reviewed 75 studies conducted at the Columbia University Institute of Comparative Medicine labs, where Oz, a 1986 Perelman and Wharton graduate, had “full scientific, administrative, and fiscal responsibility for the conduct” of the research. 

Dogs, pigs, and calves were among the “at least 1,027 live animal subjects.” In addition to the 329 dogs, 31 pigs and 661 rabbits and rodents were killed.

Oz is a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon and was once the vice chair of Columbia’s Department of Surgery, although the university appeared to cut ties with him in January.

Billy Penn conducted a recent investigation into Oz’s time at Columbia, as well as the fallout over the experiments. The investigation surrounded a claim from 2002, when Oz was the director of the Cardiovascular Institute at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center of New York-Presbyterian Hospital. 

Catherine Dell’Orto, a veterinarian at the time, testified that Oz’s team violated the Animal Welfare Act by waiting two days to euthanize a dog that suffered from “lethargy, vomiting, paralysis and kidney failure.” 

Dell’Orto also said that one study allegedly killed a litter of puppies after they received an unsedated direct injection of expired drugs to their hearts. After they were killed, Jezebel reports, “the puppies were allegedly left in a garbage bag with living puppies who were their littermates.”

Dr. Oz has a lengthy history of controversy. Questions surrounding his medical legitimacy came to a head in 2015, when a group of 10 physicians led by Henry Miller of Stanford University called for Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons to fire him. 

This appeal came months after he appeared before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security in June 2014, facing scrutiny for his history of endorsing “miracle” weight loss products.

Despite his track record, Oz has participated in politics before. In 2018, former President Donald Trump appointed Oz to the President's Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. 

This fall, he will face Democratic candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in the race for Pennsylvania’s open seat in the U.S. Senate. Fetterman, who is known for his social media presence, wrote on Twitter: “BREAKING: Dr. Oz is a puppy killer.” As election day approaches, the most recent polls show Fetterman up 5.8 points. 

Oz has not yet commented on these allegations.