PETA has condemned ABC’s “Pooch Perfect,” telling TheWrap that the Rebel Wilson-hosted dog-grooming competition show “can encourage people to restrain their dog and reach for the dye.”
And reaching for that dye — a very prominent component of “Pooch Perfect” makeovers — can be deadly, the animal-rights group warned.
“Dogs are smart, loyal individuals — they’re not here for human amusement, and unfortunately, shows like ‘Pooch Perfect’ can encourage people to restrain their dog and reach for the dye, even though doing so runs the risk of causing an allergic reaction that could even be fatal, in addition to stressing the animal,” Lauren Thomasson, PETA’s senior manager of animals in film and television, told TheWrap. “PETA reminds animal guardians that dogs love us just the way we are — and we should respect them enough to do the same for them.”
ABC did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment on the criticism, which did not start with PETA. A number of viewers were outspoken on Twitter Tuesday night about the content of the freshman program, with several going so far as to call it “abuse.”
“You can’t convince me dogs like being poked, cut, bejeweled, and dressed up like this,” one Twitter user said of the somewhat extreme pup-pageant series, which debuted on Tuesday.
“That show went from awww cute to omg are these doggos ok to I’m traumatized real quick,” another wrote.
Ahead of the series launch, at the latest Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour, Wilson, “Pooch Perfect” producers and the show’s judges were asked about the dogs’ experience on the show and if there will be a “Do not try this at home” disclaimer.
“Some dogs like it more than others. Some find it uncomfortable. So we made sure we had the kind of dogs that were used to the entire process,” executive producer Elan Gale said. “And, yes, there will definitely be disclaimers both on camera and off about making sure not to try it at home, generally speaking.”
Also, producers emphasized that the people you’ll see “reach for the dye” on “Pooch Perfect” are professionals.
By the way, if you’re wondering why “Pitch Perfect” star Wilson is hosting this show, other than the titular pun, she is a fourth generation dog show-er. Wilson’s great-grandmother started The Beagle Club of Australia and the comedic actress’ mom is a renowned international all-breed dog show judge.
Controversy or non-troversy, depending on how you personally look at it, “Pooch Perfect” got off to a pretty good-looking start in the Nielsen ratings. On Tuesday, “Pooch Perfect” premiered to a 0.6 rating, good enough to win the 8 o’clock hour across all of broadcast television.
Find last night’s primetime ratings here.