Three Movie Set Dog Trainers Accused of Animal Cruelty

Pittsburgh, PA: Three dog trainers have been accused of animal cruelty while working on the set of Manhunt: Lone Wolf, according to a report in The Independent. Trainers Antonio Spencer and Ed Wiernik each face two counts of animal cruelty while Philip Hoelcher faces four counts following a call made by an employee from the movie’s camera department to the cruelty hotline of Pittsburgh-based animal-resource community, Animal Friends. Citing court documents, the report states the trainers were “tasked with getting the dogs to react as if they had eaten a cayenne pepper, but when the canines didn’t do as instructed, their handlers used a small amount of cayenne pepper on the dogs’ noses.” It also cites a veterinarian, via the court documents, who was consulted as part of the investigation and said that “making an animal inhale cayenne pepper could cause medical emergencies ranging from irritation and burning of the mucous membranes of the nose and throat passageways to respiratory distress, which could lead to an ’embolism, respiratory arrest or death.'”

About Susan Nilson

Susan Nilson began her career with Reuters in London, England, and has over 15 years’ editorial experience in print and digital publications across Europe, Asia and the Middle East. She is currently managing editor of BARKS from the Guild. She is also a companion animal behavior consultant and trainer (Centre of Applied Pet Ethology) and an accredited professional canine behavior consultant (Pet Professional Accreditation Board).

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