Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, Under Investigation for Animal Cruelty

Posted by Samantha Bubar
National Geographic

Thursday night, following an online animal cruelty complaint, "Dog Whisperer" Cesar Millan was visited by the LA Police Department.

After an episode of his show, Cesar 911, Millan brought the safety of a pig into question when a controlled rehabilitation exercise went awry. The episode highlights a french bulldog/terrier mix, named Simon, with a history of aggressive behavior towards his owner's pet pigs.

Millan had the owners bring Simon to the Dog Psychology Center, a dog rehabilitation ranch in California on 45 acres. Millan, a self-taught highly accredited dog trainer, chose to bring the dog into a neutral setting to try and provide Simon with a positive experience with pigs after his initial training sessions.

LA Times

The dog did well on both a short and long leash in the large open pen with multiple pigs. Millan made the decision to take Simon off leash entirely, at which point Simon's behavior changed.

The dog, now off leash, took off towards one of the pigs and is able to make contact with the pigs ear before handlers are able to intervene. The camera shows handlers separating the animals and then cuts to an image of the pigs ear injury, complete with blood.

Laura Nativo, another dog trainer and actress, has organized a petition to remove Millan and his show from television because she doesn't agree with the procedure Millan used with Simon. The petition has received close to 8,000 signatures, according to an article published by NBC Los Angeles.


Nat Geo WILD's reresentative, the network that airs Millan's show, issued a statement on the online uproar from activists:

"Cesar Millan has dedicated his life to helping dogs and to showing how even the most difficult "problem dog" can be rescued and rehabilitated. In a recent episode of the Nat Geo WILD series "Cesar 911," Cesar works with an aggressive French bulldog/terrier mix named Simon, who has a history of attacking other animals, including his owner's pet potbellied pigs. A short clip from the episode was shared online and showed Simon chasing a pig and nipping its ear, causing the ear to bleed. The clip caused some concern for viewers who did not see or understand the full context of the encounter.

"We have included an additional clip from the same episode to provide missing context. 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. 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."

According to the statement, Millan said he "will continue to fully cooperate with authorities in ?any investigation. He is confident that the investigation will show there was no wrong doing."

An article published by the Los Angeles Times mentioned that the investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made.

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Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, Under Investigation for Animal Cruelty