Cesar Millan is being sued by a gymnast claiming that one of his dogs attacked her and threw her professional career into jeopardy.
The 52-year-old Dog Whisperer star was sued by Lidia Matiss, who says she was attacked by his Pit Bull Junior when she visited an office building owned by Millan in 2017, according to TMZ.
The athlete claims that not only did the dog bite her, but it had a pattern of violence and had previously attacked and killed a dog owned by Queen Latifah.
Mauling: The Dog Whisperer star Cesar Milan, 52, is being sued by gymnast Lidia Matiss for biting her, TMZ reports. She claims the dog was violent and previously killed a dog owned by Queen Latifah
According to Matiss’ filing, she was visiting her mother, who was an employee of Millan’s, at the office building she worked at in Van Nuys, California, which was owned by Millan.
Junior was allegedly walking around the building unleashed and without a handler when he attacked her, biting her several times on the legs, including on her left calf.
The excruciating pain caused by her injuries derailed her gymnastics hopes and her attempts to get recruited to compete for the University of Pennsylvania.
Matiss’ attorneys refer to her as a ‘star gymnast’ and not that she performed at Level 10, which is the highest level of competition in USA Gymnastics Junior Olympics Programs.
Attack: Matiss says in her suit that she visited her mother, an employee of Millan, at an office building he owned. HIs Pit Bull Junior was allegedly unsupervised and bit her legs repeatedly; Milan and Junior seen in 2014 in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Dreams shattered: Matiss says her injuries prevented her from competing and scuttled her recruitment to the University of Pennsylvania
But after the alleged attack, she was in too much pain to continue competing.
Matiss and her attorneys Omar G. Qureshi and Brian M. Adesman claim in their filing that Millan allowed the dog to regularly be unleashed and unsupervised, despite previous violent incidents.
She alleges that Junior had already bitten multiple people and had attacked several dogs, including a deadly incident with a pooch owned by Queen Latifah.
Matiss claims that Latifah had taken two of her dogs to Millan’s Dog Psychology Center in Santa Clarita for training.
While they were there, Millan’s Pit Bull alleged attacked and killed one of the dogs, but instead of fessing up, Matiss claims that the celebrity dog expert instructed his employees to tell the actress that her dog had been hit by a car.
Repeat offender: She claims Junior had a pattern of violence and previously mauled to death a dog owned by Queen Latifah. Mattis says Millan told his staff to tell Latifah that her dog was hit by a car; seen in June in LA
Matiss is suing Millan for unspecified damages for leaving her wounded and disfigured.
She claims that the damage is ongoing, and she says she continues to suffer from ongoing physical pain and emotional distress.
In his answer to the lawsuit, Millan contends that she took on the risk of being bitten and knew what the potential consequences could be.
He also accuses the gymnast of negligence, though the answer doesn’t spell out his reasoning for the claim.
Pointing fingers: Millan’s response claims Matiss was negligent and knew the risks of being near Junior; pictured with his friend Jada Pinkett Smith in 2008
Millan, who was born in Mexico, illegally crossed the border into the United States when he was 21, though he later became an American citizen in 2009.
He first worked in the US as a dog groomer, before starting his own training academy.
One of his earliest clients, Jada Pinkett Smith, set Millan up with a tutor, and he credits her for helping him learn English.
After accruing a bevy of celebrity clients, Millan starred on the reality series The Dog Whisperer, which demonstrated his use of ‘calm-assertive energy’ to train other dogs.
Although his Pit Bull Junior is accused of being violent in the lawsuit, the dog was used to help Millan train other pups.
The reality star announced that Junior had died on July 21, 2021, in a video posted to YouTube.