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Most Horrid Human on Greatest American Dog

Written by PETA | August 1, 2008
lockeyebc / CC
Border Collie

Poor Leroy. He’s done nothing wrong, and he just wants to be loved. So what does his trainer do? Spray water in his face, squirt lemon in his face, and even put a vacuum nozzle up to him. And we all know that there is nothing a dog hates more than a vacuum.

On Wednesday night’s episode of Greatest American Dog, the show actually aired previously taped footage in which Leroy was what I can only call abused by his trainer … what were they thinking?!? PETA received numerous complaints from viewers, and rightfully so. We hope that the executive producer of the show will hear viewers and PETA loud and clear: Abusive behavior against a dog or any other animal is never, ever acceptable. Check out PETA Senior VP Lisa Lange’s letter to the show:

August 1, 2008
To: R.J. Cutler, c/o Actual Reality Pictures
From: Lisa Lange

Dear R.J.,

PETA has received numerous calls and e-mails of complaint from viewers of Wednesday night’s Greatest American Dog.

The issue concerns Teresa’s treatment of her dog Leroy, specifically spraying him in the face, squirting lemon in his face, turning a vacuum cleaner on him (and then having the nerve to scream at him when he bites her in reaction to the offending loud noise), and forcing him to wear a snarl band. This was all done in a cruel and misguided effort to make him look “angry” for his photo shoot. To make matters worse, Leroy is a border collie—a breed that dog trainers will tell you is especially sensitive to physical manipulation and psychological abuse (e.g., yelling at him for reacting in a way that any frightened dog would when having a vacuum cleaner aimed at him).

This type of behavior must not be allowed on the show, and although we are aware that this episode was taped some time ago, we are calling on you now to have one of the judges make a statement at the beginning of next week’s show explaining that this is recognized as abusive behavior, that it will never be allowed to happen again in the house or during judging, and that Teresa will not be eligible for or allowed to appear in the season finale if the season finale is live.As you well know, many dogs are abused in similar ways by people who have no idea how to humanely train a dog. This sends a dangerous message to people who take their cues from this show, especially considering that Teresa is labeled as a dog trainer/sitter on the show’s Web site.Please let us know right away that you’ll be taking these steps, or we’ll have no other option than to urge people to boycott the remainder of the season.

May I please hear from you right away?

Lisa Lange
Senior VP, PETA

Commenting is closed.
  • jodi says:

    Francene you should LEAVE the PETA site and never return since you are not a fan. My vet would never ever suggest water in the face….would you do that to a child. Animals need to be disciplined with compassion therefore they will learn just like children they are sacred when yelled at and dont fully understand. I sincerely hope you do not have children or pets. You want further education watch some of PETA’s videos and read the stories and importantly the victories

  • jodi says:

    Hey Phill why dont you consider the fact that everyone is at fault and enter this competition willingly out of greed and should not be allowed to own pets let alone animal based businesses. If you are defending these people in the slightest then you are just a bad as they are

  • francene says:

    i can appreciate all of the comments that i have read here and i’m still trying to digest some of them. please understand that i’m not a member of PETA and not typically a fan but i do try to understand you. i am an animal lover. i do believe that animals should be treated with respect but SOME of the things that people do are not as cruel as you may think and many trainers or veterinarians actually recommend them in some cases particularly a squirt bottle of water…i would never think of using lemon or other sour or possibly stinging substances. i certainly do not agree with teresa’s use of the snarl band but i do no believe that leroy was hurt by it it would be the equivalent of a tight scruncii on your wrist. she obviously wasn’t training her dog but finding an easy way out. i must also say that i know no one who is perfect and i have yet to find a person that hasn’t been frustrated and yelled at their pet on occasion. again not that it is right but people yell at their children and each other so what makes anyone think that the household pet won’t get the same treatment sometimes. thanks for allowing me to comment here and i would appreciated any return comments that may help educate me further.

  • Leroy is My Homeboy says:

    Of all of the dogs I found Leroy the most likeable. I did not agree with the judges that barking was a real issue for crying out loud he’s a dog but now that I see how he was yelled at throughout the season I kind of cringe to think of what he had to endure in all of the years of training so that the world can see all of the cutesy tricks he does. Whether the water lemon juice snarl band vacuum etc. was right or wrong I don’t care but I do know that all of that screaming directly at him can’t be good for poor Leroy. And while I did not like what Hanula did to Leroy in the hopes of gaining more exposure and winning a quarter of a million dollars how many of us can say that an opportunity for fame money and financial stability would not change us? I do not think that Leroy should have been penalized by not being shown at all in the finale. Either way Leroy is my homeboy.

  • Debbie Rogers says:

    This show should be cancelled. Who thinks of subjecting dogs not once but twice to an elephant? Who in their right mind wants their dog to jump from deadly heights? How would the dog know its ok now with a harness but not next week from a 2 story window? The judges are inconsistent in their comments and may not know as much as they think. This is not a good show!

  • Bob says:

    This only proves just how far CBS would go for viewings and entertainment. Any of you remember Kid Nation where they forced 40 kids to go into a ghost town and force them to live on their own not really since it IS a show. Like the 15 year old I have no problem with because he has reached a certain level of maturity and responsibility but sending an 8 year old to the camp?! Ridiculous!

  • Kimberly Whalen says:

    I think someone should squirt lemon in her face spin her aorund and let her walk into oncoming traffic.

  • Debbie says:

    The TV show America’s Greatest Dog had dogs perform a ridiculous and inhumane challenge to go down a zip line. If humans want to do this fine. But dogs should not be forced to do something so ‘undog’ like. This show has done some crazy things but tonight’s show was the worse.

  • Anna says:

    I haven’t watched this series a whole lot however after watching a couple of shows I was really interested in seeing an application for it and while looking for when the next audition will be I found this disturbing information at least so I thought So being curious what actually happened I watched that whole show… NO WHERE did I find severe animal abuse or neglect. I saw a person that had no idea how to get her dog to express “Angry”. Lemon juice with a water bottle is not painful…whould I use it? no don’t have to but it’s a very simple unharmful way to train any animal. it’s just a better way then using a damn shock collar! and the whole vacumn cleaner… she never put the hose on the dogs nose cuz the dog never let her. the dog bite her and yes she got mad yes her fault but again no animal abuse. and the snarl band yes uncomfortable but not harmful and the trainers let her know that was not the idea of the game and did let her know that was wrong. this show in no way is hurting any animals and the only reason i would love to go to it is to see how well my dog would fair and i think she would have so much fun during it. i agree with regina in the last post… focus on the real inhumane acts then something that was done out of plain misunderstanding… i work in a pet store where sadly enough i talk to people everyday that plainly don’t understand their animal and feel that shocking them is the easiest solution. when i give them a choice of signing up for dog training for if the less then the price of the collar they give me the reason of they don’t have time to go to a class 1 day a week for an hour…. here is a girl that her dog does love and trust her and never have i seen the dog go in fear from her and everyone wants to drive her to the ground honestly plain sad

  • john says:

    Ok folkesits time to set some things straight. I am a dog breeder and love animalsbut lets understand somethings. A Snarl band is just a tiny clear elastic band. They are used in movies. And they are in no way considered inhumane. It’s about as uncomfortable for a dog as having their teeth brushed. Why dont we leave Teresa alone and focus on real inhumane acts

  • Regina Cain says:

    I was so excited to watch this program but after seeing this episode where this poor baby doggy was abused I cannot continue to watch. Even when the judges labeled these actions as inhumane they continued to allow this animal abusing jerk to remain on the show. I will take the advice of a previous posting and contact the companies that advertise and support their show and tell them how displeased I am with them supporting the actions of animal abuse.

  • Lynda says:

    I am a PETA member and I am very disappointed that basic background information wasn’t researched before the organizaiton attacked Teresa. First this show is trying to create controversy and build viewers and we are shown very little of what really happens in training. Second Teresa was not spraying anything into Leroy’s eyesit was at his mouth. She also tried putting lemon and peanutbutter on his gums and other ideas to get the snarl which she didn’t want to teach Leroy to do. Nothing worked. Second snarl bands are approved by the humane societythey are similar to gentle leaders. Third Teresa trained my puppy and I know both her and Leroy. I researched several trainers before choosing Teresamy baby was very shy and skittish and I had recently lost my heart dog. I was very picky about who was going to teach my dog basic obedience. Teresa is totally positive in all training and she is opposed to any type of cruelty to animals. She also made the training fun. My puppy loved her classesdragged me to the door loved Teresa did anything for herand the same held true for all the dogs in the class. Nina is now a wellbehaved and happy dog and Teresa played a huge role in making that happen. Also I’ve seen Teresa and Leroy together. Leroy adores her and she adores Leroy. It is a beautiful and positive relationship. Please condemn people who are truly cruel to animals not people who love animals and are portrayed on TV as something they are not. Feel free to contact me Lynda Van Kuren

  • Sara says:

    I am very shocked by what I have been reading not by what supposedly has happened to Leroy but by the ignorant comments in response to what people think they see! All I will say is that the producers knew exactly how they could get controversy can you say editing and it didn’t matter who they took down. If you want to crucify someone the real bad guys are the creators of this show every episode they make bad choices in how to get “reality tv” from demanding that dogs perform for hours on end in 100 degree heat to feeding them fatty human foods that make them sick! I can’t imagine what a person who isn’t a trainer and doesn’t know their dog well could have done to try to promote an “angry” response. It looked like Teresa was just trying to do the least aversive thing to get her dog to snarl and obviously he wasn’t annoyed in the least! Squirting water at a dog is commonly used in training because it DOES NOT hurt them it just redirects their attention and not EVERY dog hates vacuums. You are generalizing all animals and as you should know not every animal is the same. Teresa was given bad advice by someone who has repetitively and effectively used snarl bands which are approved by the Humane Association under the correct circumstances and yet she is getting flack for having them on her dog for 10 seconds! I am an avid supporter of animal welfare and think your attentions to this show are completely misplaced. You should be focusing on cases of true abuse and improper animal use.

  • ashley says:

    i don’t think that bella starlet’s owner should be puting ANY clothes on her dog!! bella starlet already has her fur coat! idon’t think that it’s the shows fault although i don’t agree that “angry” was a very good choice as a category. i couldn’t bare to watch teresa spray leroy in the face with the lemon juice which i actually thought was water until i read that it was lemon juice! and when she put those snarl bands on him i had to change the channel! i am SO GLAD that leroy didn’t let her get away with it and he BIT HER!! YAY LEROY! i just can’t wait until bella starlet’s owner gets kicked off along with leroy’s owner teresa!!! oh and i hope that preston’s owner and presley’s owner start dating! that would be really nice!

  • Camille Blake says:

    Thank you for standing up and saying the treatment of some of these dogs is reprehensible. The dogs are put into stressful situations and their toocompetitive parentsowners are completely misguided and wrong. You could tell that even during the photo shoot the photographer was appalled at the treament of the dog being forced to snarl. She should have spoken up then. CBS needs to prove they are about the welfare of a dog not ratings. I will not be watching this show anymore. Who knows how these dogs are treated offcamera or if someone would try to emulate the trainers on this show and damage their dog’s psyche in the process. These dogs are being asked to lose their dignity to perform unnatural behavior. SHAME ON CBS!

  • Lisa says:

    Those judges certainly made a mistake by letting Teresa and Leroy stay on. Where they sleeping that time? They try to act so tough especially Victoria and Wendy and make nasty rude remarks to the dog owners. They make me sick and I feel cheat. Hey judges practice what you preach about inhumane. Get those three judges off the set totally! Big disappointment for this show the producer should soon realize this.

  • konstantina says:

    I just saw that episode today and for all who didn’t see it or the series I’ll tell you that not only did she do those things PETA mentioned to her dog Leroy she yells at him ON EVERY EPISODE I HAVE WATCHED!

  • Bruce says:

    When she squirted the acid in Leroy’s eyes and wrapped the tight band around it’s snout it made me cry. What a terrible thing to do to such a lovely dog like Leroy.

  • Dawn says: