TV dog whisperer Cesar Millan has hit back against accusations of animal cruelty after a dog was shown on his programme biting a pig. The animal trainer insisted that the hound was being rehabilitated, so he would not be listen to those who have called for his show to be cancelled.
The host, whose TV show is broadcast on the US TV channel Nat Geo Wild, has faced a barrage of criticism after 10,000 people signed a change.org petition demanding his show be pulled from schedules.
In a report, the American Humane Society said it had received complaints about a 26 February episode of Cesar 911 that included French bulldog-terrier mix Simon chasing a pot-bellied pig and snapping at its ear, drawing blood.
A video of the encounter shows Millan removing a lead from Simon, allowing the dog to move around a pen freely with other animals. The dog then chased the squealing pig. Both animals were quickly separated. But when Millan released Simon near the pig and the dog leapt at the squealing animal and bit its ear, drawing a large amount of blood.
A spokesperson for Nat Geo Wild said: "The clip caused some concern for viewers who did not see or understand 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."
The American Humane Society responded to the statement: "Animal abuse is never acceptable and should never be tolerated."
Millan's animal training techniques have been repeatedly criticised by animal behaviour experts as being outdated and counter-productive. In October 2012, Millan appeared on the Alan Titchmarsh Show, in which the TV presenter read a statement from the RSPCA which said, "Adverse training techniques which have been seen to be used by Cesar Millan can cause pain and fear for dogs and may worsen their behavioural problems."