‘The Pack’ Canceled by Amazon After PETA Condemned Season 1 Treatment of Dogs (Exclusive)
Amazon Prime Video has canceled humans-and-their-dogs competition “The Pack” after just one season, TheWrap has learned. The “Amazing Race”-style series was hosted by Olympian Lindsey Vonn (and her dog).
Last month, TheWrap obtained and published editing room-floor footage of dogs being put into seemingly dangerous situations. PETA condemned the footage in a statement to TheWrap.
“Video footage of a dog dangling in midair from someone’s harness and paddling in a futile effort to gain his footing before getting swung into a rock face shows exactly where producers’ priorities lay for ‘The Pack,'” PETA wrote to us. “It seems that this clip ended up on the cutting room floor because producers knew that the dog was not enthusiastic and happy, but distressed. This senior dog should be curled up on a sofa, not thrown into one dangerous situation after another for the sake of ratings. No dog would choose to be part of this ‘pack.'”
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PETA also sent a letter addressed to Amazon’s head of unscripted programming, Chris Castallo, in which they said the footage “establishes exactly why real dogs and other animals don’t belong in films or on TV, as well as the way their safety and well-being are sacrificed for ratings.”
Read the full letter from PETA here. You can also see the leaked videos by following that link.
The videos, taken from raw footage of a challenge in the show’s third episode, showed the tasked human-dog teams rappelling down the 108-foot Los Campesinos Falls in Costa Rica. The clips are unedited and were shot with a cell phone off an editing machine, a source with knowledge of the post-production process told TheWrap, and did not make it to air. The source added that the editor was told to cut around those parts to make the scene work.
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Animal safety was a major part of “The Pack’s” marketing, with Amazon touting the team of “accredited veterinarians and certified dog experts” that were present for each leg.
In an interview with Variety ahead of the show’s debut, executive producer Jay Bienstock said those experts had “absolute power” on site. “If dog safety said, ‘Stop this,’ we would stop. We gave them a pass at everything,” he said.
The safety narrative was also written into the show. In the Costa Rica episode, just before the rappelling challenge, Vonn reminded the audience that the dogs and owners were put through an “orientation” prior to the start of the season where the teams were trained on a variety of skills, including rappelling.
An on-screen “dog safety team” member also appeared on camera to discuss what was about to happen: “What we’re looking for are signs or cues of stress — it could be licking, it would be yawning,” the person said. “We check their heart rates before and after. We’ve taken everything into consideration to make sure the dogs are having a good time and that they’re happy.”
Amazon and “The Pack” studio Renegade83 did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the cancellation news.