YouTube star investigated for possible animal cruelty after video shows her hitting her dog

By Sophie Lewis

/ CBS News

Warning: Video footage featured in this article may be disturbing to some viewers.

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating a YouTuber for possible animal cruelty after a disturbing video went viral earlier this week. YouTuber Brooke Houts uploaded unedited footage for a prank video that showed her hitting, spitting on and yelling at her dog.

Some of Houts' more than 330,000 subscribers thought she uploaded the wrong version of her video, "Plastic wrap prank on my Doberman." It was quickly taken down, but it has since been uploaded to Twitter and shared by YouTuber Keemstar. As of Thursday evening, it had over 35 million views.

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Houts' dog, a Doberman named Sphinx, is regularly featured on her channel. The prank video was an attempt at the popular "invisible challenge," which involves owners tricking their pets by putting plastic wrap in a doorway frame.

When Sphinx excitedly jumped on Houts during filming, she slapped his head before grabbing him. Later in the video, she shoved him on the floor, yelling, "Stop!" before appearing to spit on him. More footage showed additional shoving and yelling.

SHOCKING! YouTuber @brookehouts uploads a unedited wrong video file to her channel! The Unedited version shows her ABUSING HER DOG! pic.twitter.com/3dKE3DvQVL

— KEEM 🍿 (@KEEMSTAR) August 7, 2019

Thousands of people on social media have called on police and animal organizations to remove the dog from Houts' care and for her channel to be deleted. YouTube has not responded to CBS News' request for comment.

Several popular YouTubers also slammed Houts on Twitter. Controversial star Logan Paul called her actions "remarkably grotesque" and YouTuber Daniel Preda said the video shows "extreme abuse." Ethan Klein of h3h3 Productions even offered to buy the dog off her for "any price."

LAPD's animal cruelty unit is investigating the incident. "The LAPD is aware of the video," a spokesperson told CBS News Thursday. "It's been handed over to the Animal Cruelty Task Force. They're looking at it to determine whether a crime has been committed."

Houts issued an apology to her followers on Twitter Tuesday claiming she was having a "less than exceptional week" and did not actually spit on Sphinx.

"I am NOT a dog abuser or animal abuser in any way, shape, or form," she wrote. "Anyone who has witnessed or heard true animal abuse will be able to clearly see that. My dog, in no way, shape, or form was hurt by any action that I displayed in this video."

To everyone who has been commenting on my social media as of recently: pic.twitter.com/gnxUbfVHdf

— b (@brookehouts) August 7, 2019

"Anyone who knows me personally knows I have an immense love for animals, including my own," she continued. "I would never do anything to purposefully physically or mentally harm any animal. Again, I should NOT have yelled at him or have been as physically aggressive as I was, and I'm fully aware of that. He was not hurt, nor has he ever been purposefully hurt by me."

"I know I'll be in many future situations where he's being physical, but I will not respond this way again," she wrote.

First published on August 8, 2019 / 6:49 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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