Vet who posed with lion he killed as trophy dies while hunting

An Italian veterinarian who was fired from his job as director of a kennel, after killing a lion and a warthog while on safari in Tanzania, died while hunting birds. Luciano Ponzetto, 55, died this week after he was out hunting with friends and slipped on the ice tumbling to his death down a ravine near the Italian city of Turin.luciano-ponzetto2

According to The Sun, Ponzetto had been trying to shoot wild birds to eat when he died. He had recently returned from a shooting trip in Canada where he bragged he had “several big hits.”

In November 2015, Ponzetto was pounded with hate messages worldwide after photos appeared on social media of him posing with his rifle next to the body of a once magnificent lion. The lion’s death drew even more ire as advocates compared the killing to Cecil the Lion shot by American game hunter Walter Palmer in October, 2015  in Zimbabwe. According to Ponzetto, he said he had killed the lion several years previous and the photos had only recently appeared. Those defending Ponzetto said he had a permit to kill the animals and did nothing wrong. Ponzetto openly tried to defend himself in various interviews and on social media, however the public wasn’t buying it:

“I know that I have done nothing wrong. I am being criticized by people who do not know me. I have always loved my work and I have always loved animals. I will carry on hunting until the law changes,” Ponzetto posted.

The unwanted publicity at the kennels where Ponzetto worked near Turin caved into the massive campaign of animal advocates complaining, and after 16 years as the medical director the game hunter was fired.luciano-ponzetto

“We are totally opposed to any form of hunting or abuse of animals, whether they be wild or domestic, the kennels said in their public statement.

Social media sites have labeled the vet’s accident as “karma.” Authorities said he died instantly due to the fall and there was nothing that could have been done to save his life.

Photo lion killed by vet via  Facebook.

Follow the Pet Rescue Report on Facebook.