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The facts about the Oz animal abuse allegations

As the Senate race heats up, with polls showing a slim differential, a report from Jezebel yesterday about Mehmet Oz’s animal research caused a splash.

  • The Republican candidate was in fact the director of a research program at Columbia when it agreed to settle animal abuse claims with the USDA.

Billy Penn looked into the circumstances three weeks ago, and actually interviewed the whistleblower who brought the alleged puppy abuse to light.

A copy of the USDA settlement with Columbia over abuse allegations at a lab Oz oversaw in the early 2000s Credit: columbiacruelty.com

Meet Mr. Riggs, Philly’s newest inflatable protest mascot

Scabby the Rat, step aside: There’s a new float grabbing eyes at rallies in Philadelphia.

  • Dubbed Mr. Riggs, the fat cat is on loan to Tax the Rich PHL, the coalition pushing for a city “wealth tax” with a bill first introduced by Councilmember Kendra Brooks in 2020.

Expect to see the new float around the city as Council debates Brooks’ proposal, which has received a lot of pushback, Jordan Levy reports.

‘Mr. Riggs’ is on loan to bolster Tax the Rich PHL’s message Credit: JARED PIPER / PHL COUNCIL

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled

  • Advocates are pushing Harrisburg to pass bipartisan health insurance reform before the end of the legislative session. The bill would give doctors more flexibility in treatment options for chronic illnesses. [Spotlight PA]
  • Philly has never elected an openly gay City Council person, and a cadre of Dem insiders are trying to change that, pushing the party to back public interest lawyer Rue Landau for an at-large seat. [Inquirer$]
  • A local developer is using a $675k loan from the Philadelphia Accelerator Fund to build an 88-unit affordable housing complex in Tioga near Temple University Hospital. It’s geared toward health care workers and seniors. [Axios]
  • RIP Audrey Evans, the pediatric cancer researcher who co-founded Ronald McDonald House in Philly. She died last week at age 97. A movie about her life is currently in production. [PhillyVoice/Audrey’s Children]
  • Writer, director, and producer Lee Daniels is being honored by the Greater Philadelphia Film Office. The Philly native’s recent work includes “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” and “Concrete Cowboy.” [Ticketleap/Billy Penn]
  • It’s pierogi szn: St. Nicholas Eastern Orthodox Cathedral in NoLibs is already starting to prep 16,000 dumplings for its November festival, which will help raise money for Ukrainian refugees the church is housing. [6ABC]


No public events on Mayor Kenney’s schedule today. Yesterday his admin announced the next SmartCityPHL Pilot, following the smart street lights. This one has to do with loading zones: In designated areas (Chestnut, Walnut and Sansom between Broad and 6th) delivery drivers can use an app to temporarily reserve curb space at the cost of $3 per hour.


The East Kensington Arts and Oddities Festival, officially titled “WEIRDO,” lands at Philadelphia Brewing Co. with circus acts, magic tricks, food, drink, and music. (2 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8)

? Billy Penn contributor Alisha Miranda partners with Visit Philly to celebrate the city’s top Latine bartenders at The Franklin Bar. Drinks are pay as you go. (8:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10)