The latest story of content creators behaving inappropriately on camera concerns YouTube creator Brooke Houts and her dog, who frequently appears on her channel. It all started when Houts accidentally uploaded what appeared to be an unedited video, which seems to show her mistreating the dog. The footage is clear enough that the LAPD have launched an investigation after receiving a number of complaints.
Houts has more than 330,000 subscribers and frequently shows her dog, a doberman puppy, on camera. The now viral video was uploaded to YouTube before being swiftly removed and replaced with an edited version. The uncut one shows Houts seemingly smacking and even spitting on her dog as it comes into shot to play. We are choosing not to link to the video, as it is distressing to watch.
Since the uncut video went viral, Houts has also removed the edited version, which was titled "plastic wrap prank on my doberman!". This is likely due to comparisons being made regarding the behavior she wanted from the dog in the finished video and the behavior she appeared to punish.
Complaints have been raised and they were enough to get the Los Angeles Police Department involved. An LAPD media representative told The Verge “Our Animal Cruelty Task Force has received numerous complaints about the video you’re speaking of and we are currently looking into the matter.”
YouTube have not yet commented about the video but the site prohibits videos that include or incite abuse toward animals.
Houts has released a statement on Twitter in which she says that she did not spit on the dog, although she accepts that she “got in his face and took unnecessary actions towards him.”
To everyone who has been commenting on my social media as of recently: pic.twitter.com/gnxUbfVHdf— b (@brookehouts) August 7, 2019
She has apologised for the incident and stressed that she isn’t an animal abuser, just someone who was trying to do her best to train a large and excitable puppy.
So far the response hasn’t been good, with pretty much all the comments on her post being from people who believe there is no defence for her actions. It remains to be seen if either the LAPD or YouTube feel that any sanctions need to be imposed.