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Saturday, May 06, 2006
Producer Sues TV's "Dog Whisperer"

Television producer Flody Suarez has sued celebrity dog trainer Cesar Millan, alleging that his Labrador retriever Gator was injured at the canine guru's training facility.

Millan hosts Dog Whisperer on the National Geographic Channel and has a series of books and DVDs that promise to bring you and your pooch closer together.

Suarez, producer of 8 Simple Rules and The Book of Daniel, filed his lawsuit Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court accusing Millan of breach of contract, fraud, animal cruelty and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He is seeking more than $25,000 in damages to cover what he says he has spent, and will need to spend in the future, on veterinary bills.

According to the suit, Suarez took five-year-old Gator to Millan's Dog Psychology Center in L.A. Feb. 27 to help him get over his fear of strangers and other dogs. Suarez stated that several hours later someone from the facility called him to say that Gator had been rushed to a vet.

When Suarez next saw his dog he was "bleeding from his mouth and nose, in an oxygen tent gasping for breath and with severe bruising to his back inner thighs," as a result of being choked with a collar and being forced to run on a treadmill, according to court documents.

Suarez has also accused several employees at the Dog Psychology Center of putting a choke collar on Gator and forcing him to overexert himself.

Christopher Albert, a spokesperson for the National Geographic Channel, told the Associated Press that the happenings at Millan's training center would not affect Dog Whisperer's production.

"From what we understand, Cesar was not there at the time the injury occurred, he never worked with this dog," Albert said. "Cesar is a tremendous dog lover and has been a tireless advocate and professional dedicated to improving their welfare."

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