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
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?
Senior VP, PETA