The “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan is being investigated for animal cruelty. A segment from his popular TV show on Nat Geo WILD caused public uproar and has spurred an online petition calling for the show to be cancelled.
In an episode of “Cesar 911”, Millan’s show focused on a dog who had previously killed two pot-bellied pigs. Cesar Milan set about correcting the dog’s aggressive behavior by bringing in another pot-bellied pig to train the dog. The dog took off and attacked the pig and appeared to damage its ear, causing it to bleed. Investigators have focused on how the pig was held by the leg as the dog approached.
The petition accused Millan of using the pig as “bait”. It says “Cesar Millans methods are inhumane and his shows need to be taken off the air. In this episode, Cesar used pigs as bait for a dog who was a known pig killer and all for “entertainment” purposes and this is not the first time he has used bait animals. This is wrong! Using animals for bait is against the law.” At the time of writing, more than 10,000 people had signed.
Cesar insists that the therapy worked and the dog no longer posed a problem to pigs. The dog, a French bulldog terrier mix called Simon, was shown in a follow-up segment later in the show mixing happily with a chicken and a group of pigs and other animals.
CNN reports that Aaron Reyes, deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control confirmed they are investigating complaints. “In the video, someone has taken a pig and holds its rear leg in the air while another animal, a dog, runs to attack it,” Reyes told CNN. “That, in and of itself, is a penal code animal cruelty violation in the state of California, but the office still needs to investigate the circumstances.”
“The dog that was in question, that Cesar was attempting to train, broke away from him in the video, and immediately charged the pig. Now, what we’re hearing from the [complaining party] is that the biggest concern is someone had that pig, a male adult was holding one of those pigs, those rear legs, and holding the pig up, which made the pig squeal, which made the dog [go] into a frenzy. And it immediately charged at that pig. And the dog attacked,” Reyes told the LA Times.
The agency visited Millan’s training facility in Santa Clarita, California, on Thursday. Millan seemed unconcerned with the investigation and considered it “the right thing.” He told People “In America, animals have rights to a certain extent. And when somebody complains about it, the law enforcement have to come and supervise. They do it to everybody and they’re doing the right thing,”
Reuters quoted a statement from Nat Geo WILD that “Cesar Millan is and will continue to fully cooperate with any investigation. He is confident that the investigation will show there was no wrong doing.”
It went on to say that said that the clip from the February 26 show that was shared online caused concern for viewers because it was taken out of the “full context of the encounter.”
“The pig that was nipped… was tended to immediately afterward, healed quickly and showed no lasting signs of distress. As the additional clip reveals, Cesar and his animal pack effectively helped (the dog) Simon to overcome his aggressive behavior toward other animals,” the statement read. “As a result (of Millan’s work) Simon did not have to be separated from his owner or euthanized.”
Cesar Millan, 46-year-old self-taught animal behaviorist, shot to fame in 2004 when his show “The Dog Whisperer” became an international hit.
[Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images]