Janesville man mistaken for dentist who killed Cecil the lion

Janesville man mistaken for dentist who killed Cecil the lion
Dr. Matt Palmer

A Janesville dentist is having to defend his honor after being mistaken for a Minnesota dentist accused of illegally killing a beloved African lion.

Dr. Walter Palmer is the Eden Prairie dentist who has been in hiding since being accused of killing Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe.

Unfortunately for Dr. Matt Palmer in Janesville, the Internet is ripe for misinformation.

“He’s in hiding so I’m assuming that maybe since they couldn’t find the real Dr. Palmer I’m the alternate Walter, or the ‘Walternate’,” Matt Palmer said.

The Janesville dentist said he had to change his number because of harassing phone calls that started in the middle of the night last week and spilled over into the following days.

“I was signed up for robo-calls called ‘cat facts,'” Palmer said. “I’d answer the phone and get a fact about cats given to me every hour.”

Ultimately he had to post a message on his office Facebook page to stop the online harassment. His dentistry partner is still getting calls, as his number was also posted online.

“There’s a lot of ignorant people I think,” Palmer said. “Social media is great, but people are so quick to judge and to think that this is the guy and they don’t have their facts straight.”

Palmer said he doesn’t even hunt.

“I’ve got a big family, I’m one of nine kids, and they are all hunters,” Palmer said. “I’m the only one, I just don’t hunt.”

While Palmer has taken the lion’s share of the criticism in stride, he’s got one real message for the messengers who’ve contacted him.

“Be kinder, be nice,” Palmer said. “I don’t agree with Dr. Walter Palmer and what he did. I don’t like big game hunting for sport and there’s no reason for it. But before you click send, make sure you know what you’re doing and saying and how it is going to affect somebody’s life. We just have to be better to each other.”