Sunday 25 September 2016

Britain's Got Talent 'talking dog' being investigated by RSPCA amid cruelty concerns

Published 14/04/2015 | 13:02

Marc Metral and Wendy on Britain's Got Talent
Marc Metral and Wendy on Britain's Got Talent

French ventriloquist Marc Metral's 'talking' dog Wendy won over Simon Cowell and the audience on Sunday night's first Britain's Got Talent of the new series.

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However, the RSPCA is investigating the act which saw Wendy's mouth move in answer to Marc's questions.

Wendy's talking was down to a mask put over the dog's mouth which could be manipulated by Marc to look like she was talking.

Viewers have voiced their concern over the act, however, with The Independent reporting that Ofcom and ITV received 30 and 35 complaints respectively.

The RSPCA confirmed to the newspaper that it would contact producers to investigate Marc's methods and see how they impacted on Wendy.

“It is not clear if Wendy was wearing any sort of muzzle or mask during the performance on Britain’s Got Talent,” a statement read.

“However, the RSPCA would be very concerned if it became clear that she was caused distress at any point.

"Distress could result from her being unable to breathe or pant properly in an environment which can get very warm. Any muzzle or mask should only be used if introduced gradually to the dog and with positive training methods. Dogs should never be forced to wear anything.”

The charity also voiced concern over people at home attempting to copy animal acts and the fact that studios can be stressful for animals due to the loud clapping crowds and flashing lights.

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Britain's Got Talent has responded with a statement saying they "consulted the RSPCA's guidelines for the welfare of performing animals and spoke to Marc in detail about his act".

Asked if the animal acts are cruel, Simon Cowell recently said, "God no, I think the opposite! I think that we show animals’ personalities. I think they all have a great time on our show, you can actually see the dogs are wagging their tails and having the time of their life."

Marc has also claimed he has worked with Wendy for five years and would "never put her in a situation that would cause her distress".

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