A Chinese park has been accused of animal cruelty after a circus trainer was spotted forcibly dragging a dog from the ground by its collar multiple times.
Footage taken by a visitor shows the worker pulling up the poodle repeatedly after it seemingly refused to jump over a set of hurdles.
The source claimed that the dog had collapsed due to exhaustion, but its tamer forced it to carry on performing.
The tourist attraction has rejected allegations that it abused animals. It said the dog’s behaviour was part of ‘normal performance and training’.
The video was filmed on Sunday at an ocean park called Ocean Cubic in northern China’s Jilin Province, according to the tourist who recorded it.
The visitor claimed the incident took place around noon right after a circus show.
It is alleged that the trainer was giving the poodle extra training in hurdle jumping.
After the dog tried to hop over the barriers a few times, it became too tired and passed out, but the staff member ordered it to keep going, the source claimed.
The one-minute clip shows the man, who holds a stick, yanking the dog from the floor by pulling its collar before it flops back to the ground, appearing reluctant to follow his command.
The action repeats six times in the footage.
‘I would like to know what the educational meaning is in making dogs jump over hurdles? How can parents explain to their children about this?’ The accuser wrote on social media while releasing the footage.
‘Are you running an ocean park or an animal cemetery?’ The post condemned.
The video quickly became a trending topic on Chinese social media and sparked an uproar.
The park denied accusations that it had abused dogs.
In a statement released yesterday, it said that it had launched a thorough investigation, and found ‘no dog-abusing matters or animal-abusing behaviour’ in the park.
It claimed that it had invited authorities, lawyers, animal circus operators and members of the public to watch ‘all relevant security footage’.
‘The final conclusion is that the poodle’s acts were normal behaviour from a dog in performance and subsequent training,’ the statement read.
The park accused the video uploader of exaggerating facts and defaming the business.
However, animal welfare organisation PETA said that ‘it’s clear this dog has completely given up on life’ after viewing the footage.
Nirali Shah, a PETA spokesperson, stated: ‘That’s what happens when trainers repeatedly strike animals to force them to perform stupid tricks for a cheap laugh, even when they’re unable to stand up from exhaustion.’
Humane Society International (HSI), another animal welfare group, explained that dogs usually display particular body language, such as licking their lips or holding their tails firmly between their legs, when they are stressed or uncomfortable.
‘In situations where a dog hopes to avoid punishment or harm, it can often display submissive behaviour such as hanging its head, keeping still or displaying its belly,’ an HSI spokesperson said.
The footage shows the poodle exposing its belly while lying on the floor.
‘A dog’s belly is its most vulnerable point, so when in anxiety, it’s the dog’s way of showing deference,’ the spokesperson added.
‘Stressed dogs may also try to refuse or avoid what’s being asked of them, or simply not be able to follow instructions due to its stress levels, whilst at the same time displaying these dismissive and stressed postures.
‘In dog language that’s all saying “please don’t be angry but I really don’t feel comfortable right now”.’