Cesar Millan may be brought up on charges of animal abuse because of an incident that occurred on a recent episode of Cesar 911.
The episode was focused on the usual “hopeless case” dog: Simon, part French bulldog, part terrier, has often been described by those who know him as a terror who hates all dogs. However, it’s Simon’s strange hatred of pigs that might land Millan in hot water.
According to the Washington Post, during a training session where Millan was trying to recondition Simon to be less aggressive toward pigs, Simon bit a pig on the ear. The episode outraged many viewers because you can plainly see one of Millan’s assistants restraining the pig as the obviously violent and out-of-control dog attacks him several times. The whole moment looks like it had been orchestrated for drama. As a result, Animal Welfare received many calls and emails from angry viewers who demanded that Millan be held accountable.
According to NBC, police officials tried contacting Millan and even visited his psychology center in Santa Clarita, California, but he was apparently away on a business trip. As a result, he was given a 24-hour window to report to the police what became of the wounded pig. While many viewers claim that Simon had bitten off part of the pig’s ear, representatives from National Geographic swear this was not the case. Here’s what they said in a statement on the issue:
“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.”
However, despite this clarification, animal activists have taken to bashing Millan on social media. Many believe Millan has implemented unsafe training methods on his show for some time and are using this instance as a reason to have the show taken off the air.
And the backlash is not dying down. So far, over 10,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for Millan to be banned from television entirely. And all that for a little high-intensity moment on your show, Mr. Millan? For shame.
What seems to have people most riled up is that Simon is a known pig abuser (apparently he’s killed before), so they can’t understand why Millan would let him off leash so early in the training process. While it was likely not Millan’s intention to have the encounter result in an injured pig, viewers think his overconfidence has made him a reckless trainer.
I agree that the incident doesn’t make Millan look like the capable, trustworthy trainer he has proved to be in the past, but I think jumping to animal abuse is a tad hasty. He will likely walk away from this inquiry relatively unscathed, but hopefully the viewer response will scare him into treating animals with a little more caution and respect.