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WARNING – DISTRESSING CONTENT: Horrifying video showing a dog being slammed to the ground has led to an investigation of animal cruelty by authorities.
Footage which has been widely circulated on social media shows a young German shepherd grappling with a padded mat in a trainer’s hands.
The man then suddenly hauls the dog over his shoulder and slams it on the ground.
Whimpering on impact, the animal appears to be struggling to stand.
Shared to Instagram on Thursday, the video has been viewed more than 1 million times.
A flood of comments have questioned how the man's actions could be justified as a form of training.
“Hard to watch,” one person wrote.
“Some people should be banned from going anywhere near animals,” someone else said.
“So confused. Why would he do that? What is that teaching the dog?” another person added.
Dog trainer silent after investigation into video launched
The video was allegedly shot at a dog training centre in Texas and the Fort Bend County District Attorney is now investigating.
Attempts by Yahoo News Australia to speak with the training business have gone unanswered. Calls went directly to a voicemail system, an email has not been responded to and the company’s Facebook page is not available.
The district attorney released a statement saying they were actively investigating an animal cruelty report.
“We cannot share the details as the investigation is ongoing, but we take these matters seriously and do not condone the mistreatment of animals in any regard,” they said.
“A thorough investigation by experienced animal cruelty investigators and prosecutors is underway."
Simple tips to help train your dog
When it comes to dog training in Australia, the RSPCA Australia has a few simple tips:
Use reward based training, including praise and treats
Getting angry at your dog will just reinforce bad behaviour
Aversion therapy or physical punishment must be avoided
Training classes can help both mature dogs and puppies
‘Violence to occur anywhere in our society’
Emma Hurst, from the NSW Animal Justice Party, audibly gasped as she watched the Instagram video.
“Wow. That’s just horrific,” she said.
“I think that most people who see that would be extremely upset and disgusted.”
While the video was filmed overseas, she said animal cruelty was still a common occurrence in Australia and local welfare laws were “pathetic”.
She believes there are too many technicalities in her state’s animal protection regulations allowing perpetrators to escape appropriate punishment.
“Violence is violence and sometimes the victim changes, whether it’s a woman, or child, or an elderly person or an animal,” she said.
“Once we allow acts of violence to occur anywhere in our society then we’re permitting it to penetrate the fabric of our society.
“We need to take a stand against all acts of violence.”
Ethical treatment of animals starts at the point of sale
Georgie Purcell, from animal welfare charity Oscar’s Law, told Yahoo News Australia it was time to “change the narrative” of what pet ownership was.
She believes the idea that consumers can order a pet on demand perpetuates the idea that animals are just possessions.
“Ownership doesn't mean getting up one day and decided you want a puppy,” she said.
“If you want to get a dog, sometimes you'll have to wait if you want to do it the ethical way, whether you’re adopting or trying to find a breeder.”
Central to Ms Purcell’s concerns are breeding facilities known as “puppy farms” which commonly sell animals to pet shops.
While she believes state laws are “pretty effective” in protecting cats and dogs, inside the puppy farms they are often treated as a commodity.
Puppy farming crisis
Although Victoria and Western Australia have created legislation to combat these facilities, they continue to trade in other states.
“It's a growing industry, particularly in NSW where a lot of puppy farmers are moving because their laws are the weakest in the country,” she said.
“With the demand for puppies, particularly since the pandemic, we're facing a real puppy farming crisis across the country.
“Ideally we need nationally consistent legislation… to end puppy farming and their sale in pet shops.”
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