In an ideal world, celebrities would be individuals that others aspire to be like because they positively impact the world. Sadly, not all celebrities are like this.
Some have done some pretty cruel things to animals and we’re here to share our top five most sinister acts of animal abuse to date.
Only a handful of celebrities have been exposed for acts of animal cruelty – ranging from dog fighting to neglect to animal hoarding. Some names have created famous scandals, such as Ozzy Osborne’s bat incident. But others are concealed from the public eye, like Miranda Lambert’s hunting hobby.
Read on for a cohesive list of celebrities that have been exposed and charged for animal cruelty or treated animals in a way that most would deem exceptionally questionable.
Ozzy Osborne's Decapitations
One of the more well-known examples of animal abuse by a celebrity is Black Sabbath's lead singer, Ozzy Osborne, biting off the head of a dead bat at a concert in Des Moines, IA, on January 20, 1982.
To be fair, this bat was brought to the concert by a fan and thrown onto the stage. And to make an impact on the crowd, Osborne bit off the animal's head under the misconception that it was a rubber toy.
Based on this fact, many will argue Osborne isn't cruel to animals because he did not supply the bat and was unaware it was real when he decapitated it with his teeth.
Unfortunately, this argument is invalid since this wasn't the last time Osborne did something of this nature. Hardly a year before this event, on March 27, 1981, Osborn attended the annual convention for Epic Records to try and boost support for the debut of his upcoming solo album, Blizzard of Ozz.
He was supposed to give a short speech, at the end of which he would release three doves he had brought with him into the crowd of "higher-ups."
Sadly, for the doves, Osborne had been drinking from a bottle of brandy before the convention, and as he grew increasingly bored, he decided to bite the heads off of two doves. When asked about the incident, the singer reportedly responded:
"I just remember this PR woman going on and on at me. In the end, I said, 'Do you like animals?' Then I pulled out one of these doves and bit its f---ing head off. Just to shut her up. Then I did it again with the next dove, spitting the head out on the table, and [the woman] fell on the floor screaming. That's when they threw me out. They said I'd never work for CBS again."
Osborne might have been able to stave off accusations of animal cruelty regarding the bat incident. Still, his flagrant remarks on cruelly decapitating two doves in front of witnesses leave little to question on the matter.
Miranda Lambert's Questionable Hunting
Country singer Miranda Lambert has claimed to be an avid animal lover and supporter of humane society organizations. However, these actions seeem a bit hypocritical considering her support for some companies that are less than kind to animals, as well as her questionable hunting techniques.
Miranda Lambert's treatment for animals was questioned due to her support of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. Although rodeos in themselves are very cruel to animals, this location is exceptionally infamous for their allowance of steer busting and wild horse races, which often injury, cripple, or even kill these animals.
Lambert might not have any hand in how this rodeo is run, but she shows her support for the company and these exceptionally cruel events by frequently performing at this location.
In addition to her questionable support, Lambert received some public backlash when she appeared on the Sportsman Channel's program Country Boys Outdoors on October 27, 2010. The individuals in this episode, namely Lambert and her then-fiancé Blake Shelton, were filmed alligator hunting.
You can watch this video below however please note this is not for sensitive viewers!
There is a great deal of debate on whether hunting for sport is cruel to animals, and ultimately, the matter is subjective. As long as the animal is killed swiftly without extensive or prolonged suffering, one could argue it is not cruel to hunt them. Unfortunately, that is not the treatment Lambert's alligator received on this hunting trip.
Rather than a swift death, Lambert shot the alligator with a line-tied bow and arrow, dragged it to the edge of her boat, and eventually killed with some sort of stick device. Overall, the singer and her surrounding party were more interested in having fun with the hunt than killing this animal quickly and humanely.
Michael Vick' Support for Dog Fighting
Another well-known incident of celebrity animal abuse was the case against Michael Vick in April 2007. Before this, he was known as the quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. Afterward, his title was smeared by the evidence that Vick's property in Virginia was hosting dog fights. Investigators found 54 dogs on the property that showed obvious signs of injury, abuse, and neglect.
As the investigation continued and the case against Vick intensified, it was discovered that the Virginia property was not the only proof of dogfighting but that the former football star was a member of a large dog fighting ring called "Bad Newz Kennels."
Dogs used in these horrible events were trained using torture methods. When it was decided they could no longer fight, they were killed in horrendous ways, including electrocution, drowning, and hanging.
As a result of his crime and the overwhelming evidence condemning him, Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison and suspended from the NFL. He was officially released from federal custody in July 2009, and dogfighting was legally passed as a felony in all 50 states as of 2008.
Some good news following this tragedy is that 47 dogs were rescued from Vick’s dog fighting set-up and given a second chance at life. Not only are these dogs happy and healthy – but they’ve become ambassadors to prove cage-fighting dogs can be rehabilitated and adopted as pets.
Justin Bieber's Ignorance and Abandonment
Proceeding Michael Vick's atrocities, the animal cruelty demonstrated by Justin Bieber might seem like child's play. However, he is here on this list to show that animal cruelty does not have to look like outright abuse for it to be wrong. Negligence can be just as cruel and damaging to an animal as physical violence.
There are two demonstrations of ignorance and negligence towards animals by Bieber. The first is more or less speculatory but has been mentioned enough that many treat it as fact. According to witnesses, Justin Bieber gave his pet hamster, Pac, to a random fan backstage during a concert.
You might think this is just a hamster – what does it matter? But the simple fact is that this would be a stressful environment for any animal. Music concerts are loud, filled with flashing lights, and could be ridden with all kinds of life-threatening bacteria and diseases. It is also exceptionally ignorant to treat a living creature like a stuffed animal you could just give away.
Pets should be acquired with the mindset that you are solely responsible for them, their health, and their quality of life. All of which would have been severely jeopardized the moment Bieber brought that hamster on stage.
If the lack of evidence for this incidence leaves you unsure of Bieber's status on this list, then the well-documented situation surrounding the Canadian singer and his pet Capuchin, Mally, should set the record straight.
Firstly, Capuchins are a protected species, and so, unless an individual has a special permit, no one is legally permitted to have these animals as pets. Additionally, Mally was only 14 weeks old when Bieber acquired her, which is far too young for her to be separated from her mom.
The concept is similar to why puppies should never be given away before they are eight weeks old. It is psychologically damaging to the animal and threatens their physical health because they don't receive proper care and nutrition from their mother.
What's worse than the fact that Bieber acquired an animal he legally could not own at an age that was far too young for its health and development, when he arrived at German customs, the monkey was seized because Bieber failed to inform them he was bringing a monkey. He had no paperwork that proved Mally was his.
The singer then left Mally to German customs, which could be perceived as abandonment if it weren't for the fact that leaving Mally with professionals was probably the best thing he could've done for her.
Monkeys are wild animals and should never be purchased as pets. Not only is it irresponsible, but it is unfair on this social, sentient animal that depends on a family infrastructure for survival. Without it they become aggressive, sickly and often die young.
Paris Hilton's Animal Hoarding
American media personality, Paris Hilton, acquired a significant amount of attention around 2006, particularly for her modeling and fashion influence. However, an everyday fashion statement Hilton liked to carry around was her Chihuahua, Tinkerbell. Although this pup was a favorite of Hilton's and lived a life of luxury, the same could not be said for her other dogs.
Considering how prevalent Tinkerbell was in media, it might surprise people to know Hilton even had other dogs. Sadly, this is partially because some of them lived brief lives or were part of a large mass of pets Hilton owned.
Speculation of Hilton's treatment of animals first arose when Los Angeles Animal Services were called to action after rumors that Hilton's employers had found a dead puppy in her closet.
Unfortunately, it was discovered that Hilton was prone to isolating her “annoying” animals in separate rooms rather than taking the time to train them when they bothered her, sometimes for extended periods.
This abuse and neglect can be attributed to Hilton's habit of hoarding animals. It is believed that she owned 17 dogs, 20 rabbits, and several cats at one point, which is an astonishing amount of animals for one person to care for, which is why, in the end, she didn't.
It was reported that Hilton would leave all of these pets in her home for a maid to care for, and when she didn't want to train them, they'd be tossed into a closet only for employees to find them deceased days later.
Animal hoarding is often done to fill a void within a person when all it really does is subject to neglect. It is simply impossible for one person to provide sufficient care and attention to so many pets, and in the end, it is the pets that suffer.
There are many animal abuse incidents surrounding Paris Hilton, yet she has never served time for her neglect despite the frequency of these events. Ultimately, animals are not toys or accessories, they are living beings, and if you can't dedicate your time to their health and quality of life, you shouldn't have them.
Let someone else have them who will treat them humanely.
It is unfortunate that being a celebrity allows some of the individuals on this list and likely many who are not, to acquire and care for animals in a manner consistent with animal cruelty and receive no repercussions for this treatment.
Luckily, there are endless lists of celebrities who are public advocates of animal rights. Stars such as Olivia Munn, Tim Gunn, and Joaquin Phoenix are fearless supporters of the cause.