‘Dog whisperer’ avoids animal cruelty charges after dog bites pig on TV episode
(CNN) — Celebrity dog whisperer Cesar Millan will not face animal cruelty charges in connection with a recent episode.
Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control had been looking into complaints originating with a show of Millan’s Nat Geo Wild series, “Cesar 911,” said Aaron Reyes, the agency’s deputy director.
“After a comprehensive investigation including inspecting the pig, reviewing the veterinary report, reviewing the full video several times and interviewing all persons involved, the DA’s office, like us, were unable to identify any animal cruelty committed by Mr. Millan. The case was then declined and closed,” said Reyes.
Millan released a statement saying he was pleased but not surprised by the news.
“My team and I are 100% dedicated to the proper care of all animals and our animal handling procedures are safe and humane,” he said. “We will continue to rescue and rehabilitate even the most difficult problem dogs.”
In the February 26 show, Millan was working with Simon, an aggressive French bulldog-terrier mix with a history of attacking his owner’s pot-bellied pigs and other animals, a National Geographic Channel spokesman said. The episode showed Simon biting the ear of one of the pigs during a training session.
Complaints started after the episode aired. There were also calls for the show to be canceled.
National Geographic Channel has defended its star, 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 a 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.”