YouTuber Brooke Houts is being investigated for animal cruelty after a video surfaced that appeared to show her abusing a dog, Buzzfeed News reports.
Houts’ YouTube account seems to show the daily goings-on in the life of the Southern California woman: her eating habits, dating issues, viral challenges, and so on. Much of her content seems to be about her dog. And it was one of her dog-related videos that has gotten the attention of the police.
In a video that has since been taken down, entitled “Plastic Wrap Prank On My Doberman,” Houts was apparently trying to get the animal into amusing shenanigans involving him not being able to see the plastic wrap. It seems as if two versions of the video made it to the attention of Houts’ subscribers: one edited version, which did not portray any animal abuse, and another, unedited version, which appears to show Houts allegedly hitting, shoving, and spitting on her dog.
It’s unclear, as of this writing, if the unedited video was posted to YouTube, or if it made its way to the internet “through some other means,” as Buzzfeed describes it.
You can see what is purportedly the unedited video by viewing this tweet, but be warned: the video contains content that may be disturbing to some viewers.
— b (@brookehouts) August 1, 2019
The video then made its way to the attention of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Animal Cruelty unit. A spokesperson for the unit confirmed that an investigation is ongoing.
“LAPD is aware of this incident. Animal Cruelty is looking into this, and there is an open investigation.”
In a statement, Houts claimed that she was not abusing her dog, but instead “playing up my mood” in the unedited footage.
“I want to clarify that I am NOT a dog abuser or animal abuser in any way, shape or form. Anyone who has witnessed or heard true animal abuse will be able to clearly see that,” she said.
To everyone who has been commenting on my social media as of recently: pic.twitter.com/gnxUbfVHdf
— b (@brookehouts) August 7, 2019
She went on to say that she is a “great dog mom,” and spoils the animal with toys and treats.
This is not the first time that a YouTube “prank” has gotten the attention of law enforcement. In what may be one of the most extreme such examples, Michael and Heather Martin routinely posted videos of the couple “pranking” their kids in ways that were seen as cruel. In one such video, as HuffPost reports, the couple could be seen screaming profanities at the kids and breaking their toys, all over something the kids didn’t do, as a “joke.” The Maryland parents were each sentenced to five years’ probation.