A television producer is suing dog trainer Cesar Millan, star of TV’s "The Dog Whisperer," claiming that his Labrador retriever was injured at Millan’s training facility after being suffocated by a choke collar and forced to run on a treadmill.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Superior Court, "8 Simple Rules" producer Flody Suarez says he took 5-year-old Gator to the Dog Psychology Center on Feb. 27 to deal with fears of other dogs and strangers.
Hours after dropping the dog off at the facility, Suarez claimed a worker called to inform him the animal had been rushed to a veterinarian. He later found the dog "bleeding from his mouth and nose, in an oxygen tent gasping for breath and with severe bruising to his back inner thighs," the lawsuit claims.
The facility’s workers allegedly placed a choke collar on the dog, pulled him onto a treadmill and forced him to "overwork." Suarez says he spent at least ,000 on medical bills and the dog must undergo more surgeries for damage to his esophagus.
A call to the Dog Psychology Center, also named as a defendant, was not immediately returned. A spokesman for National Geographic Channel, which airs Millan’s show, declined comment.
"As of this time, the National Geographic Channel has not been served with either lawsuit, and we do not comment on pending litigation," said Russell Howard, the channel’s vice president of communications.
The complaint claims breach of contract, fraud, animal cruelty and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other allegations. It seeks more than ,000 in damages.