'Dog Whisperer' weighs in on azucena, pitbull fights

By Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Apr 28 2014 06:53 PM | Updated as of Apr 30 2014 01:58 AM

Cesar Millan, who stars in the show "The Dog Whisperer," poses for a photo with the dog Francin at a press conference. Photo by Ira Pedrasa for ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA -- Renowned dog behavior specialist Cesar Millan proved to be quite understanding of those who eat azucena or dog meat.

Millan, more known as TV's The Dog Whisperer, is currently in the Philippines, where azucena is considered a delicacy in some provinces.

“I’m not the type of guy who would judge because of culture and tradition,” he said at a press conference ahead of his meet-and-greet at the Eastwood Central Plaza on Tuesday.

He then recalled a conversation with a Chinese friend, who explained to him this tradition in some parts of the world. “The [Chinese man said], ‘At least we eat them. You guys kill them just because,’” he said.

Asked if this tradition can be changed, he replied: “Yes, but you don’t do that by judging them.”

Millan was more forceful in his response when informed of the dog-fighting syndicate in Laguna that victimized close to 300 pitbulls.

Like other dog lovers around the world, Millan has heard of the story that put the Philippines on the map of infamy among animal rights activists.

“There are three kinds of people: The ignorant, the fearful and those who don’t care,” he said.

But those who experience joy upon seeing dogs kill each other fall into another category, he added.

“It shows humans not feeling the spirituality and the heart… If you’re going to teach kids this, the next generation is going to grow up with this,” he warned.

Exactly two years ago, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group busted a dog-fighting business in Laguna, rescuing almost 300 pitbulls.

The animals were found in a sorry state: some were injured, others were dehydrated, and several were very ill and dying.

Pitbulls are usually pitted against each other because of their “aggressive” breed and nature.

But Millan clarified that it’s only the humans that created this image. “They may do this for survival, but not to entertain,” he said.

Despite such abuses against animals, Millan nonetheless warned against adopting on a whim, noting that a person usually gets a dog just because the pet is “cute” or is in a sorry state.

“My suggestion is never to adopt due to impulse. It’s the worst thing,” he said, explaining that in the US, out of 10 dogs rescued, six are returned to shelters for animals because their owners fail in some or several ways.

He urged the adoption of rescue animals only when the owners are already prepared.

“Six hundred dogs die each year because they are neglected, unwanted, and abandoned. A dog will never do that to a human just because he looks weird,” he said.

Millan will be holding live demonstrations and dog training on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Eastwood Central Plaza in Libis. Ticket prices are as follows: Gold (with meet and greet) - P8,000; Silver - P7,000; and Bronze – P6,000.