The boss of Scotland’s animal welfare charity has called on a ticket hosting website to close down a listing for controversial US dog trainer Jeff Gellman.
Kirsteen Campbell, CEO of the Scottish SPCA has written to Eventbrite to ask them to send a “clear message” to Mr Gellman that he is not welcome in the UK.
Mr Gellman is due to host a two-day seminar in Braco in August but concerns have been raised that his methods are unnecessarily cruel after a video of him throwing a rolled up towel at the head of a dog went viral online.
The trainer, who owns Solid K-9 Training, based in Rhode Island, has defended his methods and said he has faced a strong backlash from the public, receiving 2,500 pieces of hate mail a day, including death threats.
In her letter to Julia Hartz, the CEO of Eventbrite, Ms Campbell wrote: “As Scotland’s animal welfare charity, we know what it takes to prepare dogs with behavioural issues for rehoming.
“Animals should be trained with patience, kindness and respect – not made to feel threatened and left cowering in fear.
“Mr Gellman has already admitted live on BBC Scotland’s ‘The Nine’ programme that he intends to use these methods when he comes to Scotland.
“In our view, this shows an admission of intent to harm animals and should the event go ahead in August ,we will consider what actions we can take in the coming months.
“As the only animal charity in the UK recognised as a reporting agency to the Crown Office, should evidence arise which shows Jeff Gellman has harmed an animal whilst in Scotland, we will not hesitate to investigate him and this may lead to a prosecution.
“We would ask that you consider removing this event from your listings to send a clear message to Mr Gellman that this brand of so-called training is not welcome in the UK and that Eventbrite will not provide a platform to events where the host openly admits to hitting dogs.”
Mike Flynn, the charity’s Chief Superintendent, has previously called on dog owners to boycott the seminars.
Petitions to prevent Mr Gellman from holding the events have gained more than 100,000 signatures in just over a week.
Mr Gellman is charging up to £750 for “working” slots at the seminars, in which owners can bring their dog to be trained. Spectators can opt to pay £450 for an “audit” slot.
A spokesman for Eventbrite said: “We are currently reviewing the events highlighted. This review can sometimes take a few days – as you can imagine, taking any event down is a very dramatic step we do not take lightly.”
Mr Gellman did not respond to request for comment. Earlier this week he launched a $100,000 crowdfunding project for unspecified legal fees.