Brooke Houts is a YouTuber and actress who has come under fire for raw footage of a video she was making with her Doberman, Sphinx, in which she appears to hit him and then spit on him.
Houts has since given a statement on the backlash and accidental video upload, in which she said in part, “I want to clarify that I am NOT a dog abuser or animal abuser in any way, shape, or form.”
An LAPD media representative confirmed to The Verge that the Animal Cruelty unit has launched an investigation. The rep said, “Our Animal Cruelty Task Force has received numerous complaints about the video you’re speaking of and we are currently looking into the matter.”
The controversy began when Houts accidentally uploaded a video of raw footage on August 6, which shows her smacking her dog, pinning him to the ground and shouting “NO!”
The video was quickly taken down and replaced with the more polished cut, but many had already seen it by the time she took it down. You can still see the footage in the video under fact #1. She has also now taken down the edited version of the plastic wrap prank video.
Here’s what you need to know about Houts:
1. READ: Houts’ Full Statement on the Controversial Footage
In a tweet on August 6, Houts addressed the controversy head on, via a series of screenshots of a statement she appeared to write on the Notes app. She also wrote the same statement in a comment on the YouTube video (as seen below) where the uncut footage originate from. The statement reads,
Anything I say isn’t going to make those who believe I’m a bad person stop believing that, and I’m aware of this. I apologize to anyone who has been effected negatively by the footage. First off, I want to address the uncut footage. On the day in particular that the video was filmed, and actually this past week, things in my outside life have been less than exceptional. I am not going to play the “victim card” or anything of that sort, but I do want to point out that I am rarely as upset as what was shown in the footage. The bubbly, happy-go-lucky Brooke that you often see in my videos is typically an accurate representation of me, but it’s obvious that I’m playing up my mood in this video when I’m clearly actually frustrated.
That being said, this does NOT justify me yelling at my dog in the way that I did, and I’m fully aware of that. Should I have gotten as angry as I did in the video? No. Should I have raised my voice and yelled at him? No. However, when my 75 lb. Doberman is jumping up in my face with his mouth open, I do, as a dog parent, have to show him that this behavior is unacceptable. But I want to make it known, REGARDLESS of what my dog does, I should not have acted that way towards him.
I want to clarify that I am NOT a dog abuser or animal abuser in any way, shape, or form. Anyone who has witnessed or heard true animal abuse will be able to clearly see that. My dog, in no way, shape, or form was hurt by any action that I displayed in this video. I know people are going to say “you don’t know how he really feels” and this is true. But if he was audibly and physically in pain, it would be a different story. I also did NOT spit on my dog, but I understand how it could look like I did. Did I get in his face and take unnecessary actions towards him? Yes I did, and that was not the way I should’ve handled the situation. Did I spit on my dog? No.
My family and I are in the process of getting him training. The training that I have been looking at for him is VERY expensive, because it’d have to be 1-on-1 with a trainer. Ever since he was attacked at the dog park, he isn’t okay with being around other dogs. He sticks to me like velcro if he is in the presence of another dog, even a little chihuahua. I just can’t see him getting what he needs from a group training environment. That being said, I know I personally can learn more effective techniques to get his energy out and keep him disciplined as well.
Anyone who knows me personally knows I have an immense love for animals, including my own. I would never do anything to purposefully physically or mentally harm any animal. Again, I should NOT have yelled at him or have been as physically aggressive as I was, and I’m fully aware of that. He was not hurt, nor has he ever been purposefully hurt by me. I know I’ll be in many future situations where he’s being physical, but I will not respond this way again.
Family or friends that have spent any amount of time with Sphinx and me know that we have a trusting, loving relationship. All he wants to do is be by my side, cuddle with me, and be around me, which I love. My love for him is exponential and infinite, and I do everything I can in my day-to-day life to ensure that he is living as happily as he can. I’m sorry that my actions in that particular moment did not reflect that.
About my twitter- I deactivated my account earlier in the day. When I went to open it, I was met with an excess of notifications of people telling me I’m messed up, a bad person, that I’m going to hell, that I belong in jail, etc. For my own mental health, and no other reason besides that, I didn’t think it was necessary for me to be reading those comments at that time. Lastly, I don’t want to make this statement seem like it’s me defending myself, because that is not my goal. I do want to point out what ACTUALLY happened though. My intent by explaining the situation is to give those of you who are rightfully angry with me the explanation that you deserve. I am getting my dog into training, and I’m looking at ways to improve how I personally train him at home. I am sorry that you guys had to watch that footage and were upset by it, and I’m sorry to my dog for raising my voice and acting aggressively.
In my heart and from the words of the people that spend the most time with me, I know that I am a great dog mom (but not perfect), that I spoil him in the best ways, that he gets all the treats he could ever want, and that the Amazon Prime mailman is probably tired of delivering packages of dog toys to my house. Again, this does not make my actions in the footage okay, but I’m just explaining what my day-to-day life is really like, whether you believe me or not.
On a serious note, I love you guys, and I want to THANK YOU for pointing out things that you think are wrong and discussing them, because the world needs more of that. I hope you give me the chance to prove that these statements about myself do align with my actions. All my love, Brooke Houts
2. Houts’ YouTube Channel Has 339,000 Subscribers & She Often Features Her Doberman in Videos
Houts has a popular YouTube channel; she boasts over 339,000 subscribers, and routinely uploads videos. The video she was filming that led to the alleged dog abuse, “Plastic wrap prank on my doberman!,” was taken down on August 7. The video had over 138,000 views. The caption for the video read, “Hey guys! Me & me favorite dog ever are here to bring you a plastic wrap prank lol, this is probably the shortest video to ever go up on my channel but I hope you like it!!! Let us know if you wanna see more pranks ??”
Many users have since commented on that video, condemning her behavior with her dog. One user wrote, “I have seen a few of your videos with Sphinx and from the beginning I’ve felt that you don’t understand what the breed needs. But I’ve tried to not be judgmental beforehand since you sometimes have mentioned that you do train him. But then I saw the video where you show how you train him.”
Another user wrote, “Imagine beating your dog for trying to show love and affection ?”
Other well-known YouTubers have even weighed in. Andrea Russett, an actress and YouTube personality, tweeted, “dogs give, give & give an unconfidtional love asking nothing but the same in return. the way u reacted to ur dog simply being a dog was unacceptable & hard to watch. i hope you learn and grow from this, because no animal should ever be in a home where it’s being treated that way.”
Mister Preda, another influencer and YouTube personality, tweeted, “This makes my blood BOIL. How dare you blame this on “training” your dog. @brookehouts You are disgusting. You deserve both your channel taken down, and your beautiful puppy be given to a deserving home you monster.”
Similarly, Ethan Nestor (a video game commentator, vlogger, and former video editor) tweeted, “this is such a bullshit apology. ‘I will not respond this way again.’ yes you will! I guarantee this is the way you’ve always scolded your dog, so why would that change. Stop acting like this was a one time thing. This dog needs a better home and you need help for anger issues.”
Logan Paul posted a Twitter thread on the controversy, writing in part, “…this video of that girl hitting & spitting on her dog is remarkably grotesque, and irks me for many reasons… im terrified by the on-camera personality shift she puts on when she’s ‘performing’ … one thing ive always tried to do is be authentic, sometimes too authentic, and i’d bet an unhealthy amount of creators wear a mask just as ugly”
3. One of Houts’ Most Viewed Videos Involves Her Kissing Her Apparent Ex-Boyfriend
Houts’ videos tend to run the gamut, in terms of content. But one of her most popular video (which has garnered over 3.3 million views) is “KISSING MY EX-BOYFRIEND (Extreme Ex-Boyfriend Tag).” You can watch the video above.
Many of Houts’ videos revolve around Sphinx, too. Another of her most popular videos follows a “day in the life” of Sphinx:
In the video, Houts brushes Sphinx’s teeth, walks him (and defends the collar she uses for Sphinx), washes him, and more.
Houts has had a YouTube account since 2014. Her “About Me” section reads, “HEY my name is Brooke Houts and if you’re reading this congratulations you can read. Since you’re already here, I heard that it’s strongly advised by all medical personnel that you hit the subscribe button (also the notification bell doesn’t hurt either) or else SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN I DON’T KNOW I’M BAD AT LYING JUST SUBSCRIBE OKAY IT’S FREE AND FUN”
4. Houts Is LA-Based, & Affiliates Herself With MOSAIC
Though Houts has since turned her Instagram account private, her bio does offer some information about the YouTuber. She’s based in LA, for example, and affiliates herself with MOSAIC, a church in Los Angeles with six locations across the city.
Houts’ Twitter bio reads, “Subscibe to my stupid channel already.” She has over 6,000 followers on Twitter and over 26,000 followers on Instagram. Her most recent tweet as of August 7 reads, “Thank you to everyone who’s being kind and understanding. I really appreciate it”
Houts also appears to be an aspiring actress, as she uploaded a video called “What it’s really like being an actress in LA” in May. In the video, Houts drives around Los Angeles with a friend, makes a green juice, and talks about why she loves the makeup brand Glossier.
Houts does have an IMDB account. Her one IMDB acting credit is for a television series called Interracial.
5. Houts’ Dog, Sphinx, Has His Own Instagram Account
Though Houts’ has made her own Instagram account private to all non-followers, her dog, Sphinx, still has a public Instagram account. Users have since flooded his comments with attacks on Houts.
“Nice dog but sh*t owner,” one user commented.
Many others have tagged the ASPCA. One user did that and wrote, “@aspca please help this poor dog, and when you do spit and push the owner on the ground. Then say you are just in a bad mood that day.”