A YouTuber is being investigated by police after a video showing her smacking and spitting on her dog was posted online.
Brooke Houts, who lives in Los Angeles, has insisted she is “not a dog abuser” after she accidentally published the footage on her channel.
In the now-deleted video that went viral on Tuesday, the 20-year-old’s doberman, Sphinx, jumped up at her while she filmed a video with him.
Houts then appeared to smack the dog in the face before pinning him on the floor and spitting on him.
Later on, Houts shoves the animal away with both hands when he tries to lick her face.
The US star faced a backlash from viewers after the uncut clip, called “plastic wrap prank on my Doberman”, was published on her channel, which as more than 300,000 subscribers.
Within hours, Los Angeles Police Department’s Animal Cruelty Unit began investigating the situation, TMZ reported.
Houts, who was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, released a lengthy apology statement on Twitter in which she admitted she shouldn’t have gotten “as angry” as she did.
“I want to clarify that I am NOT a dog abuser or animal abuser in any way, shape, or form,” Houts said, before denying she spat on the pet.
Commenting on her tactics to control the 75lb dog, she said: “I know I personally can learn more effective techniques to get his energy out and keep him disciplined as well”.
She added: “He was not hurt, nor has he ever been purposefully hurt by me.”
Calling on YouTube to ban her from the platform, PETA tweeted: “Dogs deserve respect. If you can’t treat dogs with kindness and instead hit them, don’t get one”.
Other social media users condemned Houts for using her dog as an accessory for her YouTube channel.
One user tweeted: “#BrookeHouts you need to learn that your dog is not a “thing” to use to make yourself a YouTube ‘star’.”
Another said: “Imagine buying a dog for clout and adsense because your channel is as stale as 3 day old complimentary restaurant bread then mistreat said dog because he won’t perform to your standards by not only hitting him by SPITTING on him.”