The Florida vacation home of Dr. Walter Palmer was vandalized by someone angry with the Bloomington dentist for killing a cherished lion during a hunt last month in Zimbabwe.
The words “LION Killer!” were spray-painted Tuesday on the garage door of the home on Marco Island on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and pigs feet drenched in hot sauce were strewn about the driveway. Several plastic cups with animal crackers were left on the lawn.
There have yet to be any arrests in what Police Capt. Dave Baer described Wednesday as misdemeanor criminal mischief.
“We’ve been in contact with the owners” since the vandalism was detected, Baer said, declining to say whether that communication was with Palmer or his wife.
Baer added that it’s “fair to say” that the attention his police force has been giving to the home recently will be increased in the wake of this incident.
Palmer, a prolific big-game hunter, paid more than $50,000 for a guided hunt early last month during which he shot Cecil the lion with a bow and arrow. Zimbabwean authorities have charged Palmer’s guide with carrying out an illegal hunt, and they have also accused but not yet charged a farmer whose land was used for the kill.
Other than issuing a statement on July 28 acknowledging the kill but saying he thought it was legal, Palmer, 55, has stayed out of sight as Zimbabwean and U.S. authorities investigate the hunt.
Walter Zalisko, a private investigator for the Palmer family, has visited the home since the vandalism. Zalisko told WINK-TV that he believes the vandalism occurred about 5 a.m., adding that he detected no evidence of damage inside the home, which is adorned outside with figurines of various African animals.
In Minnesota, Palmer’s Eden Prairie home has been under increased monitoring by police for the past week. There have been no incidents there, said city spokeswoman Joyce Lorenz. She said police are aware of the vandalism in Marco Island.
Palmer’s Bloomington office has been the site of spirited protests, but no damage has been done. His practice has been closed amid the furor.