Rebel Wilson's 'Pooch Perfect' Faces Viewer Claims of Animal Abuse

ABC's dog-grooming reality show Pooch Perfect debuted on Tuesday, but it already finds itself mired in controversy.

The Rebel Wilson-hosted competition has its share of defenders, but many others have criticized it, alleging animal abuse. Along with the animal rights advocacy group PETA, many social media users have expressed outrage.

The series features 10 professional dog stylists competing in a series of challenges with a judging panel composed of reality TV star Lisa Vanderpump (Vanderpump Rules), celebrity pet groomer Jorge Bendersky, and veterinarian Callie Harris.

Pooch Perfect
Rebel Wilson, host of ABC's "Pooch Perfect." ABC

The show's title is a play on words of the hit film franchise Pitch Perfect, which stars Wilson. Ironically, Wilson, who also executive produces Pooch Perfect, is allergic to canines, Forbes reported.

Contestants radically changed the appearances of various dogs on-air during Tuesday's premiere, which immediately resulted in backlash on social media from viewers who called the actions unsafe. Along with extensive grooming, dogs are bejeweled, and some have their hair dyed for the challenges.

Rebel Wilson's show Pooch Perfect faces 'doggie abuse' accusations from viewers who watched the pups being 'poked, cut, bejeweled, and dressed up' - including one which was dyed to look like a TIGER
via https://t.co/3d7Rs0AQFD

ABUSE, WHY DO THIS 🤬 https://t.co/t0fVP3G6Yp

— Lady Steffan (@summeruk1708) April 1, 2021

Anybody else think this is kinda animal abuse? I'm uncomfortable lol #PoochPerfect

— bee (@bklinez) March 31, 2021

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has adamantly condemned the show. On its official Twitter account, the group wrote that Pooch Perfect "encourages people to treat dogs as if they were things to decorate, like a ceramic pot, or to give them dangerous at-home dye jobs, which not only carry the risk of an allergic reaction or fatal toxic poisoning but also stress them out."

#PoochPerfect encourages people to treat dogs as if they were things to decorate, like a ceramic pot, or to give them dangerous at-home dye jobs, which not only carry the risk of an allergic reaction or fatal toxic poisoning but also stress them out. 💔👇https://t.co/TN1InawvSL

— PETA (@peta) April 1, 2021

One Twitter user noted that while he's "not one of those @PETA nutjubs by any stretch of the imagination," he still felt what the show encourages is wrong. "Leave those poor dogs alone and stop with the hair dyes and feathers and jewels!"

I'm not one of those @PETA nutjobs by any stretch of the imagination, but WTF am I seeing on @ABCNetwork with this #PoochPerfect?!?!

Leave those poor dogs alone and stop with the hair dyes and feathers and jewels! What the hell?

— Winston G. Montag (@WinstonMontag77) March 31, 2021

One especially drastic makeover saw a dog transformed to resemble a leopard, complete with dyed spots.

Who else did a double take?! This transfurmation is EVERYTHING! 😱 #PoochPerfect pic.twitter.com/xV1XDss4H1

— Pooch Perfect (@poochperfectabc) March 31, 2021

The leopard look dismayed many who tuned in.

You can't convince me dogs like being poked, cut, bejeweled, and dressed up like this. #PoochPerfect pic.twitter.com/kbLV1en7CH

— Petty Pablo (@electricsoul123) March 31, 2021

Not everyone was critical of Pooch Perfect, though. One person, who wrote that they once worked in pet grooming, said dogs in such competitions love the attention and are having fun.

As a former groomer tech, I've been to grooming competitions. Many r wild Af like this w/ themes. And to those feeling sorry 4the dogs. Please don't. The dogs have a great time., love the attention &praise. They don't have fashion sense like we do. & it washes out #PoochPerfect

— Story Teller🌎🌹 (@Story27368218) March 31, 2021

Some took humorous swipes at those outraged by the show. A writer even imagined the appearances of critics' own dogs with some supposedly disparaging photos.

The people complaining about the grooming show Pooch Perfect..

What are the odds their dogs look like this pic.twitter.com/zKwyUmqTHD

— Mutt_Luver69 (@GinnieRaye) March 31, 2021

Others poked fun of the show's host with reminders about Wilson's role in the notorious flop film adaptation of Cats (2019).

New Rule: Rebel Wilson has to host every #PoochPerfect episode like this @peta @ABCNetwork pic.twitter.com/PbH4talk1P

— Dean Logan (@Deano1739) April 1, 2021

Pooch Perfect runs for eight episodes and was a hit in its debut. The premiere episode drew in an impressive 4.17 million total viewers on Tuesday, according to thetvratingsguide.com, making it the No. 2 show during the coveted 8 p.m. primetime slot, behind only NBC's NCIS.