Already in the national spotlight for his troubled marriage, Jon Gosselin is facing yet another controversy: allegations of animal abuse.
The Jon & Kate Plus 8 star told PEOPLE recently that his German Shepherd pups, Shoka and Nala, are often mishandled by his young children. “Those kids beat them up, climb on them, pull their tails, bite at them, drag them around and everything you can imagine not to do to an animal, they’ve done,” he said.
It wasn’t long before the Humane Society of Berks County, Pa., where the Gosselins live, received about a dozen complaints from animal activists around the country, prompting Gosselin to release a statement Friday to the organization about the care of his animals.
“I’d like to set the record straight,” he said. “We understand the responsibilities of being good dog owners. Whenever my kids are with Shoka and Nala, everyone is carefully supervised to ensure that no one – dog or child – is injured. Shoka and Nala are loyal companions who we consider members of our family. We would never do anything to hurt them, and treat them with the respect and love that they deserve.”
Karel I. Minor, executive director of the Humane Society of Berks County, confirmed to the local Reading Eagle newspaper that Shoka and Nala are up-to-date on their vaccinations and registered in the Gosselins’ township. “We have no credible reason to believe in [any] way that there is cruelty going on,” he shared, adding that representatives from the Humane Society did not conduct a visit to the family’s home.
Community members on PEOPLE Pets had suggestions for the reality-show couple on teaching their 8-year-old twins and 5-year-old sextuplets how to behave properly around dogs. “Not every dog would be as tolerant, so it’s probably not good to let your kids think they can do whatever they want with no consequences,” wrote abbysmom. Other members agreed, with reader Micki1219 pointing out that “there may come a day when, unfortunately, [Shoka and Nala] might not be so tolerant.”