Saturday, 5 March 2016

Open Letter to the Producer of Cesar 911 and National Geographic Channels US

Dear Sirs,

The television entertainment show 'Cesar 911' featuring Cesar Millan recently depicted scenes that at the very least, contravene California State Law regarding animal cruelty.

The program clearly evidences Mr Millan actively choosing to put another animal (a pig) through a stressful and potentially dangerous experience in the name of animal training and entertainment.

Mr Millan was fully aware that the dog he was working with, a French Bulldog x named Simon, had previously carried out vicious and deadly attacks on pigs in the past.

Mr Millan then set Simon up to attack two dogs, after being told he was dog aggressive and would fight with them.

After witnessing these attacks and in the full knowledge that Simon would be out of control if off leash and would inflict physical injury if unmuzzled, he chose to let Simon off leash and unmuzzled whilst locked in a pen with a number of pigs.

Mr Millan allowed Simon to chase, make contact with the pigs and grab a pig by the ear inflicting a bloody wound.

It is clear from slow-motion footage of the 'training' session that one of Mr Millans assistant crew incited the dog to attack by restraining a pig by a hind leg - it is reasonable to assume that this was done at Mr Millans instruction, and that this was done to ensure some 'exciting' footage for the tv program.

The pig can clearly be seen, held by a back leg and squealing BEFORE the off leash and unmuzzled dog reaches him - Mr Millan makes chase and attempts to grab the dog but fails to do so before contact is made. Once he does get the dog under control instead of putting the dog on a lead and muzzling it, he chooses again to let go of the dog, who almost immediately attacks the pig (still held by the assistant crew member despite its attempts to escape) again, causing it a bloody injury to its left ear.

According to California State Law

West's Annotated California Codes. Penal Code. Part 1. Of Crimes and Punishments. Title 14. Malicious Mischief. § 597. Cruelty to animals

..."(a) Except as provided in subdivision (c) of this section or Section 599c, every person who maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, or wounds a living animal, or maliciously and intentionally kills an animal, is guilty of a crime punishable pursuant to subdivision (d).
(b) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (a) or (c), every person who overdrives, overloads, drives when overloaded, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, cruelly beats, mutilates, or cruelly kills any animal, or causes or procures any animal to be so overdriven, overloaded, driven when overloaded, overworked, tortured, tormented, deprived of necessary sustenance, drink, shelter, or to be cruelly beaten, mutilated, or cruelly killed; and whoever, having the charge or custody of any animal, either as owner or otherwise, subjects any animal to needless suffering, or inflicts unnecessary cruelty upon the animal, or in any manner abuses any animal, or fails to provide the animal with proper food, drink, or shelter or protection from the weather, or who drives, rides, or otherwise uses the animal when unfit for labor, is, for each offense, guilty of a crime punishable pursuant to subdivision (d)....

The law here seems to be pretty clear - if there were no intention to maim, mutilate, torture, or cause needless suffering or inflict unnecessary cruelty, then the pig in question would not have been held by the leg to cause it to scream and incite the dog to attack. The dog in question would have been wearing a muzzle and leash.

Mr Millan cannot possibly claim he was unaware of the dogs prior history, nor of its behaviour, having handled the animal himself prior to intentionally setting it loose on the pigs.

Furthermore, during the show Mr Millan made no obvious attempt to treat the injured pig, he does not halt the training and ask someone to attend to the injured animal, and you felt it acceptable to use background footage of the injured animal in other parts of the show.

I put it to you that the footage shows clear contravention of the law, and quite probably other laws that apply to that state and others.

Mr Millan and National Geographic US have a case to answer here as do the producers of the show and anyone else working on it. I would like to know what steps you intend to take to prevent such animal abuse in future ideally including an immediate severing of the relationship between Nat Geo and Mr Millan and legal action taken against those who made the decision to abuse animals in the name of entertainment AND those who took the decision to include and air that footage on television.

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