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Amazon series The Pack criticized by PETA after leaked footage shows dogs rappel off a CLIFF

A new Amazon Prime original series that sees owners compete in challenges with their dogs has come under fire from animal charities after leaked footage saw the ‘distressed’ hounds abseil off a cliff. 

The Pack, hosted by Olympic alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn and her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lucy, is an ‘amazing race’ style show in which two teams of dogs and their humans compete in challenges to celebrate their bond.

The prize is $500,000 for the winning dog and partner, plus another $250,000 to be donated to a charity of their choice. It kicks off in LA before the teams jet off to Mexico, Italy, Switzerland, France, Austria, the UK and Costa Rica before returning to the US for a finale in Utah.

In episode three, set in Costa Rica, the blue team are tasked with rappelling down the 108ft Los Campesinos Falls, tethered to their canine companions. 

The dog-human partnerships that took part in the abseiling were Mitra and nine-year-old Border Collie-St Barnard cross Bozley, Lucy and Black Labrador Duchess, whom she rescued in 2012, Daniel and Wired Haired Rat Terrier Allister, Kentucky and Derby the Goldendoodle, and Josh and his poodle Snow. 

A new Amazon Prime original series that sees owners compete in challenges with their dogs has come under fire from animal charities after leaked footage saw the hounds abseil off a cliff (pictured)

The Pack is an amazing race style show in which two teams of dogs and their humans compete in challenges to celebrate their bond. In episode three, set in Costa Rica, the blue team are tasked with rappelling down the 108ft Los Campesinos Falls, tethered to their canine companions (pictured, the raw footage)

The Pack is an amazing race style show in which two teams of dogs and their humans compete in challenges to celebrate their bond. In episode three, set in Costa Rica, the blue team are tasked with rappelling down the 108ft Los Campesinos Falls, tethered to their canine companions (pictured, the raw footage)

While segments of the daring challenge made it to the final cut, leaked raw footage has emerged that was filmed on a mobile phone from an editing machine, a source with knowledge of the post-production told The Wrap. 

The source claimed the editor was told to cut around these moments, which showed Mitra and Bozley and Lucy and Duchess slipping and sliding as they rappelled down the falls, to ‘make the scene work’.

Both dogs are seen with their legs bent towards them, and at one point both owners slip and fall directly onto their pets, causing them to also lose their footing. 

According to a representative from animal rights group PETA, who watched the footage, the clip ‘ended up on the cutting room floor because producers knew that the dog was not enthusiastic and happy, but distressed’.  

The Pack is hosted by Olympic alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn and her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lucy

The Pack is hosted by Olympic alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn and her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lucy

The source told The Wrap that the editor was told to cut around these moments, which showed Mitra and Bozley and Lucy and Duchess slipping and sliding as they rappelled down the falls, to 'make the scene work'

The source told The Wrap that the editor was told to cut around these moments, which showed Mitra and Bozley and Lucy and Duchess slipping and sliding as they rappelled down the falls, to ‘make the scene work’

‘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,’ they added. 

‘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”.’

PETA also sent a letter to Amazon’s head of unscripted programming, Chris Castallo, in which they claimed the raw 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’, according to the publication.

It read: ‘We were alerted to this video of a senior dog dangling from someone’s harness and paddling in a futile effort to gain his footing before getting swung into a rock face, evidently during the filming of The Pack.

Ahead of its launch, Amazon stressed the show was made under the watchful eye of a team of 'accredited veterinarians and certified dog experts', with the safety of its animals paramount

Ahead of its launch, Amazon stressed the show was made under the watchful eye of a team of ‘accredited veterinarians and certified dog experts’, with the safety of its animals paramount

Both dogs are seen with their legs bent towards them, and at one point both owners slip and fall directly onto their pets, causing them to also lose their footing

Both dogs are seen with their legs bent towards them, and at one point both owners slip and fall directly onto their pets, causing them to also lose their footing

‘Nothing about this dog says “happy to be here”. He seems worried, and being attached to a climber ascending a rock face would obviously be terrifying for animals, rather than a “fun and exciting” way of “celebrating their incredible bond” with humans.’ 

FEMAIL has reached out to Amazon for comment. 

In the segment that did make the final cut, host Vonn explains that instead of crossing the river, the blue pack must go down it by rappelling. There is an alternative path they can take, but none of the competitors opted to use it.

She also reminded viewers that both the dogs and the owners completed an ‘orientation’ before the show where they were trained in numerous skills including rappelling. 

Mitra admitted she was concerned about being tethered to Bozley because he weighs 85lb and is 'kinda chubby'

Mitra admitted she was concerned about being tethered to Bozley because he weighs 85lb and is ‘kinda chubby’

According to his owner, Bozley is 'happiest hiking, catching flies and dozing off whenever, wherever'. He is also 'protective, intelligent, and gentle. His impressive napping skills fuel his boundless energy'

According to his owner, Bozley is ‘happiest hiking, catching flies and dozing off whenever, wherever’. He is also ‘protective, intelligent, and gentle. His impressive napping skills fuel his boundless energy’

All of the dogs were kitted out in special ‘booties’ to protect their paw pads while abseiling down the side of the waterfall. 

There was also a dog safety team at the bottom led by Jaxon, dedicated to making sure the animals were ‘having a good time and not in distress’. 

Mitra admitted she was concerned about being tethered to Bozley because he weighs 85lb and is ‘kinda chubby’.

Meanwhile Danile said Allister the dog ‘doesn’t normally go in the water’, and revealed afterwards he was ‘really happy’ that his pet enjoyed it.  

Ahead of its launch, Amazon stressed the show was made under the watchful eye of a team of ‘accredited veterinarians and certified dog experts’, with the safety of its animals paramount.

In an interview with Variety ahead of its debut, executive producer Jay Bienstock said the experts had ‘absolute power’ on site, adding: ‘If dog safety said, “Stop this” we would stop. We gave them a pass at everything.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk