Celebrity dog whisper Cesar Millan is under fire after a French bulldog terrier mix attacked a pot-bellied pig during training.
The incident, which aired in late February on his show Cesar 911, prompted complaints from viewers that are now being investigated by Los Angeles County animal control officials in Santa Clarita, California.
“It’s being handled,” an official told BuzzFeed News Friday.
The incident occurred as Millan was attempting to rehabilitate Simon — an aggressive French bulldog terrier mix with a history of attacking other animals — and the black and white dog lashed out at the pot-bellied pig, biting and drawing blood from its ear. The pig squealed in response as the animals were pulled apart.
Millan said he was only trying to help retrain Simon when the unfortunate incident happened. And his spokesperson noted that the clip that concerned viewers did not show the full context of the encounter.
Nat Geo Wild, which airs the show, provided additional footage showing the next-day encounter, in which Millan brings Simon back to the pig pen. Once inside, Simon appears indifferent before Millan actually tethers a leash to the pig that was attacked and has it walk the dog.
Millan said doing so made Simon a “follower, not an aggressor.”
“Now he learned a different concept, you can follow a pig…and don’t eat the pig, but you can eat with the pig,” Millan said.
Nat Geo Wild also released the following statement:
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.
Cesar Millan is and will continue to fully cooperate with authorities in any investigation. He is confident that the investigation will show there was no wrong doing.