Gosselins Repond to Allegations They Mistreat Their Pups

The reality TV family is criticized for the way their kids treat their two dogs.

June 08, 2009, 6:21 PM

June 9, 2009 — -- Jon Gosselin just can't seem to catch a break.

Gosselin, the embattled father of TLC's reality show "Jon and Kate Plus 8," is now responding to allegations that he and his family have been mistreating their German shepherd puppies, Shoka and Nala.

A June 4 interview published on People.com in which Gosselin said that his kids often "beat" their dogs sparked an outcry of complaints to the local branch of the Humane Society.

"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," said Gosselin, who described the dogs as "loyal creatures."

Karel Minor, the executive director of the Humane Society of Berks County, Pa., told ABCNews.com that community members have been complaining about how the Gosselins treat their dogs.

"We received about a dozen complaints," said Minor.

Minor confirmed that the two dogs have licenses in the area where the Gosselins live and that they are up-to-date on their vaccinations.

"We have no credible reason to believe in any way that there is cruelty going on," Minor said.

Gosselin, in a statement released to ABCNews.com, sought to "set the record straight" regarding the mishandling of his family pets, stating that his previous remarks about his kids were taken out of context.

"We understand the responsibilities of being good dog owners," Gosselin said. "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," he said. "We would never do anything to hurt them, and treat them with the respect and love that they deserve."

This latest controversy comes as the latest in what has been a whirlwind of negative publicity for the Gosselin family, who have faced allegations of infidelity as well as claims they are using the popular reality show to exploit their children.

Gosselins Face the Wrath of Tabloids

Last week, US weekly posted an exclusive photo on its Web site of Gosselin on vacation in Utah with school teacher Deanna Hummel.

The photo, taken on March 28, according to US magazine, shows the pair at the Canyons Ski Resort in Park City during the resort's annual Spring Gruv, which features concerts and sporting competitions. The visit could show up in a future episode of the TLC reality show, which, according to US, filmed Gosselin's trip to focus on how he helps handicapped kids.

Sources who saw the pair together told the magazine they appeared "very cuddly."

Gosselin has denied having an affair since allegations of his infidelity were first reported by US on March 18. Since then, the family has dominated tabloid covers and Gosselin has battled criticism about his child rearing skills.

Earlier this month, Gosselin told People magazine that he in no way is exploiting his children.

"I don't even want to use that word, because I think it's ridiculous," he told People. "We have healthy, happy, well-adjusted, educated kids. They're bouncing around and having a good time."

Jon, 32, appeared in the glossy magazine saying "enough is enough," when it comes to all the overwhelming attention the family is receiving.

"Jon's definitely suffering a little bit right now with all of this attention on him and his family. He's sort of done with the whole situation," People magazine senior staff writer Michelle Tan said. "He's said enough is enough with the paparazzi."

The interview came just weeks after his wife, 34-year-old Kate Gosselin, used the popular magazine as an outlet to describe her feelings about what was happening to her marriage. In May, she discussed the perilous state of the Gosselin union, confessing that "Jon is confused and struggling with a lot of different things."

"I think anybody who has watched the show has noticed that Kate's definitely the vocal one of the two, and Jon's very laid back. And I think now with this increased scrutiny, Kate is still opening up a bit more than Jon," Tan said.

"Jon is just getting more and more guarded," she said. "He's just feeling under the attack, and really wants to keep things private."

Jon reportedly underwent hours of rigorous media training on how to deflect personal questions during his interview in New York.

Meanwhile, Kate and the sextuplets enjoyed a family vacation on the beaches of North Carolina. With a pail in hand and an orange bikini, Kate Gosselin wowed onlookers by being tanned and toned.

Jon and Kate Gosselin's Kids Hurt by Fame?

Concerns about the Gosselins have gone beyond mere blogosphere chatter. Last week, Pennsylvania's Labor Department said it was launching a probe to see if the hit show is complying with child labor laws.

TLC, which airs "Jon & Kate Plus 8," said it "fully complies" with state laws and regulations.

Both Jon and Kate have drawn tabloid ire as their 8-year-old twins and 5-year-old sextuplets continue to appear on "Jon & Kate Plus 8."

The criticism has been fueled partially by the reports of extramarital affairs by both Jon and Kate and questions about whether the Gosselins should continue filming even as their marriage appears to crumble before a nationwide audience.

Both of them have denied the affair allegations, but have acknowledged they are having difficulty in their relationship.

The rift in the couple's decade-long union has become apparent in the show. But "Jon & Kate Plus 8" has seen some of its highest ratings since the Gosselins' troubles became tabloid fodder.

"I think all parents, and anyone who is married, are always going to have times when you're upset with someone," Jon said. "This is a reality show, so you're going to see real emotion."

Nearly 10 million viewers tuned in to the season 5 premiere almost two weeks ago to watch the obviously tense and noticeably distant parents try to get things back to normal after discussing their marital problems.

The ratings roll has bested the show's past average audience of fewer than 3 million viewers.

Both Jon and Kate have differed on whether they plan to continue filming their hit show.

Jon and Kate: Different Takes on Reality Stardom

Despite their marital woes, Kate told People the show will continue.

"I must go on and provide for my kids," she said.

But Jon had a different take on reality stardom.

"Jon does [not] view the show as a job, necessarily, but he does recognize that the show has provided incredible opportunities for him and his family, so he'll continue to do the show as long as it benefits his children," Tan said.

"But every year, when there's a renewal contract that comes along, he does say that they have family discussions about it," she said. "They bring their children into the room. The children account for 80 percent of the family. And if anybody doesn't like the cameras around, then they'll stop production."

Claiming to be hounded by fans asking for autographs, Jon said he hasn't ruled out quitting.

"It's not my job," He said. "My job is to take care of my kids."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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