(KNNP) – Three animal trainers have been charged with animal cruelty after they used cayenne pepper to coach the dog’s behavior while filming Manhunt: Lone Wolf.
Antonio A. Spencer, 32, of Bridgeville, Ed Wiernik, 59, of Oakdale, each face two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. Phillip Hoelcher, 73, of Umatilla, Fla., faces four misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. All charges were filed by an Animal Friends police officer Aug. 29 in connection to the July 23 incident.
Charges have been mailed to each trainer. They will face Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey Herbst for a preliminary hearing in mid October.
According to the complaint filed against the trainers, Spencer subcontracted Wiernik and Hoelcher as additional dog trainers for the filming of a scene for the American true-crime miniseries near Rosecrest Drive in Monroeville. Spencer and Wiernik “put (cayenne pepper) into the dogs’ noses several times.” Hoelcher allegedly provided them with it.
A member of the crew, who provided videos that allegedly showed the trainers using cayenne pepper on the dogs, notified Animal Friends of the incident. The crewmember said the use of cayenne pepper on dogs is not common practice.
The police officer who filed the complaint said he viewed an official video provided by Lionsgate, parent production company of “Manhunt.”
Lionsgate provided a statement via email.
“We have an excellent track record and are deeply committed to protecting the animals on our TV and film sets, and we take any allegations of animal cruelty very seriously. We are cooperating fully with local law enforcement on this matter.”
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