Celebrity dog whisperer Cesar Millan is under investigation over allegations of animal cruelty.
The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control is looking into complaints originating with an episode of Millan’s Nat Geo Wild series, “Cesar 911,” according to CNN affiliate KCBS-TV.
In the February 26 show, Millan was working with Simon, an aggressive French bulldog-terrier mix with a history of attacking his owner’s potbellied pigs and other animals, a National Geographic Channels spokesman confirmed. The episode showed Simon biting the ear of one of the pigs during a training session.
Complaints started after the episode aired. There have also been calls for the show to be canceled.
National Geographic Channels defended its star in a statement Thursday, saying the short clip shared online didn’t include “the full context of the encounter.”
“Cesar has created a safe and controlled environment at his Dog Psychology Center (DPC) in California in which to rehabilitate some of the most extreme — or ‘red zone’ — cases of dog aggression, such as Simon’s,” according to the statement. “It is important to clarify that Cesar took precautions, such as putting Simon on a long lead to assess his behavior, before making initial corrections and removing the leash.
“The pig that was nipped by Simon 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 Simon to overcome his aggressive behavior toward other animals; as a result, Simon did not have to be separated from his owner or euthanized.”
Millan, who rose to fame during nine seasons of his TV show “Dog Whisperer With Cesar Millan,” is cooperating with authorities, according to the statement. “He is confident that the investigation will show there was no wrongdoing.”
By Katia Hetter