The Amazing Race-style competition series faced controversy over leaked footage showing dogs in allegedly unsafe conditions, but the cancelation was not due to PETA's complaints.

By Sydney Bucksbaum
January 14, 2021 at 06:55 PM EST
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LINDSEY VONN AND LUCY - THE PACK
Credit: AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

Amazon is putting a leash on The Pack. The reality competition series where pet owners and their dogs traveled around the world competing in challenges has been canceled after one season, EW has confirmed.

The Amazing Race-style show, hosted by Olympian Lindsey Vonn, faced controversy in the past months over leaked, unaired footage that showed the dogs in allegedly unsafe conditions — like being harnessed to their owners as they rappelled down a waterfall. The videos, posted by TheWrap in December, were condemned by PETA, who, in a statement to the outlet at the time, accused producers of putting dogs "into one dangerous situation after another for the sake of ratings."

However, a source with knowledge of the production tells EW that there is no connection between the PETA complaints and the show's cancelation; the decision had more to do with the pandemic's impact on shooting.

A separate source close to Vonn tells EW, "Lindsey is an animal lover, she has rescued and fostered several dogs, and she would never participate in a show that would mistreat animals. The show donated more than $250,000 to animal organizations along the way during filming."

Speaking with Variety prior to the show's premiere, dog trainers Nick Benger and Nicole Ellis, who were hands-on behind-the-scenes, said they not only taught the dogs skills they would need for the challenges but they also weighed in on the challenge development itself for safety reasons. "I think it's important for everyone at home to see that training so you're not like, 'Oh wow, they just took that dog and did this crazy adventure.' No, we broke it down for even the most simple steps," Ellis said.

"All of the dogs ride in crash-tested harnesses or carriers, and we didn't just put the harnesses on the dogs; we really broke it down: showed them a harness, [they] got a treat; showed them a harness, [they] got a treat. It was multiple steps before they even wore a harness. And that went for safety goggles, booties, equipment," he added.

Mark LeBlanc and his border collie Ace won the first season of The Pack. The mechanical engineer from Salt Lake City, Utah, and his canine companion received $500,000 for themselves and $250,000 to donate to the charity of their choice. LeBlanc donated to Best Friends Animal Society, an animal welfare organization with a sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.

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