Trainers are often under scrutiny but it’s mostly about training style, not abuse. This story, however, takes training style to another level. A level we certainly DO NOT support!
Three dog trainers have been charged with animal cruelty for ‘allegedly’ using cayenne pepper on the dogs to get them to perform properly while filming for a TV series called “Manhunt: Lone Wolf.”
Two of the trainers, Antonio Spencer and Ed Wiernik, face two counts of animal cruelty, while a third, Philip Hoelcher, faces four counts after the abuse was reported to a cruelty hotline, Animal Friends, in Pennsylvania.
One of the show’s employees called the hotline expressing his concerns involving the German Shepherds on set. The trainers were trying to get the dogs to react as if they actually ate cayenne pepper but when they wouldn’t give the performance they were aiming for, they actually put cayenne pepper on the dogs’ noses.
The court documents say: “After Wiernik put the cayenne pepper in the dog’s nose, the dog immediately dropped down to the ground and attempted to rub his face through the dirt and foliage. … These actions were repeated.”
Lionsgate that produces the series says that they take these allegations very seriously.
A vet that was consulting by the court said that inhaling cayenne pepper can be very dangerous, symptoms ranging from irritation, burning of the inside mucous membranes of the nose and throat and possibly respiratory distress that can lead to much worse symptoms that can include “embolism, respiratory arrest or death.”
The chief humane officer of Animal Friends, Robert Fredly, said when he spoke to the production coordinator that he believed that the act itself was due to a miscommunication of the script.
Whether this event was due to miscommunication or not, these are professional trainers. Why wouldn’t they use better judgement? Do you think this was a deliberate act? Do you think the trainers should be punished? Let us know in the comment section!