Renown dog behaviorist Cesar Millan is under investigation for claims of possible animal cruelty after the airing of an episode of his show “Cesar 911” in which a dog bites a pig's ear.
Multiple viewers called animal welfare officials to complain that Millan, also known as the “Dog Whisperer,” had used a live pig as a training tool. The dog, a French bulldog named Simon, has a history of aggressive behavior toward pigs and has killed two in the past.
According to multiple reports, Los Angeles Animal Control and Sheriff’s deputies paid a visit to Millan’s Dog Psychology Center in Santa Clarita Thursday, but Millan was not there.
In an interview last month with Fox News Latino, Millan anticipated that this season would be different.
“The cases this season are way more extreme than ever,” Millan told FNL. “One dog killed two pigs. Another dog killed four goats.”
Millan came from Mexico as a young man with dreams of bringing his dog training gifts to his adopted homeland. He eventually built an empire around his love of dogs. It includes not just TV shows that became hits, but also books, pet products, magazines and a website.
Reports and an online petition has been launched, but reps for the show insist that although the pig’s ear was bitten, it was not bitten off, as the petition alleges.
Animal Control issued a 24-hour notice requiring Millan to contact investigators and give an update as to the pig’s current health.
Animal-rights activists have called for the cancellation of Millan’s show.
Laura Nativo, a professional dog trainer was one of the organizers of the petition.
In a statement to NBC4, National Geographic Wild, the channel that airs the show, that viewers “did not see or understand the context of the encounter.”
The channel said the self-taught dog behaviorist took necessary precautions with Simon prior to the mauling.
“The pig that was nipped by Simon was tended to immediately afterward, healed quickly and showed no lasting signs of distress,” they said in the statement.
Millan was sued last year after a pit bull he’d worked with had attacked a woman. She claimed to have suffered “disfiguring open wounds.” And in 2006, a TV producers alleged that his dog was injured after being suffocated by a choke collar and forced to run on a treadmill at Millan’s center.