Animal Rights

Dr. Phil's Dog Attacks Beverly Hills Beauty Expert

| by Denise A Justin

Janet Harris, Beverly Hills skin-care specialist who has appeared on Dr. Phil’s show, alleges that while visiting Robin McGraw at the couple’s home on December 9, 2010, to preview Dr. Phil’s Christmas Special, their Jindo dog, Maggie, suddenly attacked her and caused serious injury.  

Harris set forth the details in a lawsuit filed on February 2, 2011, with the Santa Monica, CA, Superior Court.

The suit alleges that she and McGraw’s wife, a close friend, were sitting in the study when, without provocation, the dog  suddenly bit Harris’ right hand and arm, causing puncture wounds, abrasions and cuts with severe bleeding. Harris states that the dog had to be forcibly removed from its bite hold by Robin McGraw, who then called Dr. Phil, who was playing golf. Robin had offered to take her to a hospital.

Harris further alleges that, “Dr. Phil instructed his wife not to do so and advised her that he would be right home.”  After he arrived, Harris’ complaint continues, “…Dr. Phil advised Plaintiff that taking her to the hospital would cause adverse publicity for him and asked that the matter by handled privately.”

The following day Harris was diagnosed with pasteurella multocida, a serious bacterial infection associated with animal bites, and “…she was advised that had she not been placed on antibiotics within seventy-two (72) hours, she would have died,” according to the court document. 

Harris reportedly has permanently lost 90% hearing in her right ear and 20% in her left ear (from a reaction to antibiotics) and developed a right-hand tremor which prevents her from continuing her business and has resulted in eviction from her Beverly Hills clinic.

"Phillip and I have taken care of Janet," Robin McGraw said in a written statement. "Janet is a friend and we continue to wish her well."

Maggie, the McGraws' rescued Jindo, appeared on Dr. Phil’s TV show.  He admitted that the dog sleeps with him and his wife every night and that some experts warn this is not a good idea because dogs observe “pack mentality” and it may confuse the dog as to who is in charge.

Jindo dogs are an Asian Spitz breed indigenous to the Jindo Island off the coast of South Korea.  They are used as hunting and/or guard dogs, and are known as fiercely loyal companions--not recommended for the inexperienced owner. states: “They have a highly developed sense of territory and will defend it tenaciously from intruders…Unfortunately there can be complications when the dog's definition of intruder conflicts with their owners.”