Mild-manned man of gardening Alan Titchmarsh has come out swinging for the animal kingdom by taking America's billionaire "Dog Whisperer" to task over some of his more questionable training techniques.
Cesar Millan, who is the founder of an animal welfare foundation in his own name, has been known to employ controversial techniques including using spiked collars, physical attacks and electric shocks.
Ahead of Millan's appearance on the show, fans took to The Alan Titchmarsh Show's official Facebook page to complain about his "thuggish" methods.
There was so much ire directed to Millan ITV bosses supplied the studio with extra security for fear animal rights activists would storm the building, The Sun reported.
Cesar Millan appeared on The Alan Titchmarsh Show on Wednesday
What's more, a Twitter campaign supported by 1,000 people was launched, demanding Millan's appearance was cancelled.
The 63-year-old host informed Millan of the stir his appearance had caused, explaining: "We have never had so many complaints about a guest before."
Titchmarsh said: "You punish dogs, you hit them. I've seen you punch a dog in the throat to get it to behave and I would say that was totally unacceptable as a way of training a dog."
Millan replied: "Well I would respectfully disagree with that, it's not a punch, it's a touch."
Titchmarsh politely disagreed, claiming: "I watched the video of it and if somebody touched me like that I would be hurt. You went for the throat and you punched the dog back and the dog bit you and held on to your hand.
"Having watched a lot of boxing matches it looked like something Henry Cooper would deliver."
Millan, a New York Times best-selling author, stuck to his guns, insisting his actions were no more than a touch, at which point Titchmarsh pushed the point, stating: "But you also work with electric shocks and collars and spikes on collars that really hurt them.
"You know, this is pretty barbaric treatment. What's your reasoning for treating dogs like this?"
Millan continued to insist his methods are simply used to 'snap the (dog's) brain out of it'.
Titchmarsh later read out an RSPCA statement, which, said: "Adverse training techniques which have been seen to be used by Cesar Millan can cause pain and fear for dogs and may worsen their behavioural problems."
After the show aired, an update on its official Facebook page read: "Apologies to anyone who thought Cesar was unfairly treated.
"The AT show always tries to air a balanced view with both sides of the story and we hope you will all continue to watch and enjoy the show."
Meanwhile, Millan's many followers remain devoted, among which there was vehement support from Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon and his supermodel wife Yasmin.
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