A gymnast named Lidia Matiss is alleging that she was attacked by Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan’s now-deceased pit bull Junior in a new lawsuit. Matiss says that the attack occurred in 2017 when she went to visit her mom, who was an employee at Millan’s training facility. She claims that the dog was “unsupervised and unleashed” when he repeatedly bit her on the leg, leaving her with “severe” injuries that have stopped her from competing in her sport.
In the lawsuit, Matiss alleges that Millan let Junior roam without a leash despite being aware of his history of attacking people and dogs. She also claims that the so-called Dog Whisperer had actually covered up a time when Junior had mauled one of Queen Latifah’s dogs to death—instead telling the rapper that her dog was hit and killed by a car. Millan’s lawyers denied the accusation, calling it “a blatant lie.”
“This incident occurred over 4 years ago. Two weeks ago, Ms. Mattiss’ counsel sent a letter demanding that Mr. Millan pay her $850,000 - or she would be going ‘to the press.’ Mr. Millan refused to respond to this threat, and this interview is the result,” a rep for Millan wrote in a statement obtained by PEOPLE on Tuesday.
The statement continued, “As everyone knows, Cesar Millan is one of the world’s most prominent dog training experts. Over his extraordinary career, Mr. Millan has fostered, and helped - literally - thousands of behaviorally troubled animals dogs - often with dogs at risk of being ‘put down.’ “
$850,000 seems like a slightly alleged high price point for a dog attack that occurred four years ago and yet wasn’t important enough to file a lawsuit over until now, but I am not one to judge an injured person suing a millionaire for any reason—especially considering the potential severity of a pit bull attack.
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