Being a tough bounty hunter is certainly not the stuff of fairy tales, but reality television viewers loved the series Dog the Bounty Hunter on A&E, starring Duane "Dog" Chapman, a bounty hunter and man who kicked butt and took names in front of the cameras every week. Chapman has a very deep closet of skeletons, though. Some of those secrets kept viewers watching week after week and many thought they added to the appeal of a man who seemed very complicated.
In the end, though, some of his darkest secrets created problems for the Chapmans once word got out. Some of those secrets were so bad that when they came out, they affected the A&E television show. Ultimately, one of those secrets got the series canceled in 2012 after eight seasons. A second series Dog and Beth: On The Hunt began to air on CMT in 2013, but Dog's dark secrets continued to haunt him: that show got the axe after just two seasons in 2015.
But Dog the Bounty Hunter still airs in syndication. Chapman still has a lot of fans, in spite of all the scandals and controversies that continue to follow him.
Here are 15 Dark Secrets Behind Dog The Bounty Hunter.
15 Beth Chapman cursed out a teenager in 2013 and got arrested for it
It's not just Duane Chapman that has a bit of a mouth and a temper on him. His wife, Beth, has also spent some time defying the law.
On a family fishing trip in 2013 in Colorado, Beth reportedly got offended by a teenager driving by in a vehicle and yelled at the driver, calling her a variety of expletives. Beth then called 911 and reported to police that the teen had a gun. The Chapmans left before the police arrived, though, and the teen pressed charges against Beth for harassment.
In Colorado, it's actually illegal to use "coarse language" against someone, so after Beth refused to show up for a summons, police issued a warrant for her arrest. However, she did later turn herself over to police.
14 Dog received death threats in 2012
With Dog being a bounty hunter, it's likely that he has a long list of enemies: there are probably a lot of people who would wish for harm to come to him. So perhaps it's not a big surprise that he received a series of death threats in 2012.
Over the course of four days, someone sent a series of emails that were explicit in their meaning, as well as violently graphic, indicating that the sender wanted to slaughter and murder the Chapman family. The emails continued with threats to rape Dog's children.
The family took the threats seriously and the FBI opened an investigation on their behalf. To this day, though, the FBI have not released the names of any suspects or made any arrests in the matter.
13 Dog got into a near-brawl and screaming match in a bar
Part of Dog's job involved storming into places and looking for people who have bounties on their head. That means that violence is likely to occur, especially when the place stormed into is a bar.
In 2011, Dog got into a shouting match with a bar owner in Colorado when he entered the establishment looking for that owner's father - a man who had jumped bail. Dog was just doing his job on camera, but his team started getting belligerent.
While Dog and the owner began yelling at each other, one of Dog's team members punched a bar patron in the face. Dog and the owner took their fight outside, with Dog pulling out his stun gun after the owner threw a plant at him.
12 Native Americans deny Dog’s claim of being part Native American
One thing that Dog seems particularly proud of his Native American heritage, something he brings up every chance that he can. He claims that his mother was Cherokee and seems to identify strongly with Native American culture. He often wears feathers in his hair and sports Native American jewelry.
There are many Native Americans, though, that deny that Dog's mother was actually ever a part of their ethnicity. They claim that he just says that he's Native American as a way to market himself on TV.
There is even one claim that suggests that Dog's mother was actually a Polish immigrant who came to the U.S. and became fascinated with Native American culture after befriending people on a reservation. The claim is that she started telling others that she was a member of the Cherokee nation after that.
11 Dog spent time in jail after getting convicted of first degree murder
Dog had a rough upbringing and his jail record shows it. After dropping out of school at the age of 13, he joined a motorcycle gang and ended up getting arrested multiple times, usually for alleged armed robbery. He continued to delve into a life of crime, when eventually, it caught up to him: while waiting for a friend to complete a deal, that friend shot and killed a man. Because Dog was an accomplice, a court convicted him of first degree murder.
Dog went to jail at the Texas State Penitentiary to serve a five-year sentence. It was there, though, that he started to turn his life around. He only ended up serving a year and a half of his sentence. Just before his release, a judge suggested that he would make a good bounty hunter.
10 Dog’s daughter died the night before his wedding to Beth
Although Dog married and divorced multiple times, he seemed to have finally found his match with Beth Smith, who later became his wife and co-star on Dog the Bounty Hunter. The night before their wedding, though, brought tragic news. One of his daughters from a previous marriage, 23-year-old Barbara Katie, was with a friend in a stolen SUV when it went off the road and hit some trees.
Police believe that drugs and alcohol could have caused the crash. That accident killed Barbara Katie, with Dog receiving the news just before his marriage ceremony to Beth. The wedding still went on as planned, but Dog and Beth decided to break the news to guests at the wedding reception, which they agreed to use to celebrate Barbara Katie's life.
9 The truth of why Dog the Bounty Hunter never uses a gun
Anyone who watched Dog the Bounty Hunter got used to seeing Dog wearing armored vests and sporting a variety of weapons, including his signature stun gun. But there's one weapon that fans never saw Dog carry: a gun. There is a very valid reason for this.
Although most bounty hunters do have permits for guns, Dog did not have one because he was a convicted felon. As U.S. law dictates, a convicted felon cannot legally purchase or own a firearm. A convicted felon cannot even apply for a license for a firearm. Obviously, this didn't stop Dog from becoming one of the most recognizable bounty hunters in history - save for maybe Boba Fett. Fortunately, his team didn't have this restriction and many carried guns.
8 Beth's plastic surgery?
Being on TV puts a lot of pressure on people to look a certain way. This is especially true of women, who get brutally judged on TV by the 15 pounds the camera supposedly adds. Beth Chapman is no exception: she wanted to look better for when she was on-camera.
Her body changed a lot during the course of the series, and eventually, word got out that she probably went under the knife on more than one occasion, including having a tummy tuck that seemed obvious when comparing before and after photos.
Beth never confirmed having surgery, but regardless, she underwent a drastic change in her look. Whatever the case, that change seemed to make her much happier with herself, and that's all that really matters.
7 Dog's son may have leaked the phone call that got the show canceled
Dog had a strained relationship with most of his children, particularly his son Tucker. But after the audio of a phone call between the two got leaked (presumably by Tucker himself), Dog found himself in hot water with his show and career on the line.
Apparently, Dog didn't like Tucker's girlfriend who is black: in the phone call, Dog made several racial slurs in reference to her, including using the "n" word. Although he later apologized, his damaged reputation did not recover.
A&E decided to pull Dog the Bounty Hunter off the air temporarily. The show did return, but the phone call lingered in the network's minds and after other issues came up, it served as the first nail in the coffin for the series, which got officially canceled several years later.
6 The 2011 lawsuit
In 2011, Hoang Minh Phung Nguyen filed suit against Dog and his team for defamation.
In 2009, Dog claimed that Nguyen shot at his crew while they were trying to arrest him for skipping out on a bail bond. The assistant district attorney dropped all charges, though, due to insufficient evidence and conflicting statements from members of Dog's team. Also, although Dog promised to hand over video evidence of the incident, he never did. That arrest lost Nguyen his job and reputation, in spite of the dropped charges.
Nguyen also claimed in the lawsuit that what really happened was not shown accurately on the episode of the TV series. Although records for the case are now closed, nothing was ever made public about the final outcome.
5 Claims by Dog’s daughter that she had a bad upbringing
Considering the multiple marriages and divorces, as well as all the controversy surrounding his life, it's probably not a big stretch of the imagination to think that Dog isn't the best parent of all time. His daughter Lyssa, though, wrote a book about it called Walking On Eggshells. In its pages, Lyssa made claims that she had a bad upbringing, thanks to her alcoholic mom and crack-addicted father.
“I [falsely] accused my father of raping me when I was 11," she wrote. "I had been molested by a friend of his. It was a horrible life that I never wanted to go back to, living with him and Beth and the fighting and the drugs. When I got to my mother’s, although she drank, it was much more peaceful. I was in school, I had friends, I was willing to do anything to not go back.”
4 Bobby Brown sued the show for not getting paid what he was promised
It seems that lawsuits weren't an uncommon thing for Dog the Bounty Hunter and the A&E Network. In 2011, bail bondsman Bobby Brown sued the series for not getting paid what he says the network and production company initially promised him. He appeared in many episodes of the series, but never received compensation as a full cast member, something he claimed that he was promised.
Although the series made over $400 million in its first seven seasons, though, Brown said that his pay for that total time was only $6,000. Brown claimed that he was the person responsible for making most of Dog's arrests possible, working at least 50 hours for each episode. There is still no official word on how that lawsuit turned out.
3 Dog got robbed in Los Angeles
One might think that the bounty hunter title comes with at least the privilege of no one wanting to mess with you. But that didn't stop criminals from breaking into a posh hotel suite in Los Angeles where Dog and Beth were staying and robbing them blind.
Earlier this year, the couple reportedly returned to their hotel room to discover that there was more than $5,000 in cash missing from their safe. Police did not find any sign of forced entry and nothing else was taken, including expensive jewelry and luggage that was lying about.
Investigators believe that because of these details, it was probably an inside job. Whatever the case, it doesn't seem like the investigation ever turned up any suspects.
2 Dog got custody of his grandson after abuse allegations against the child's father
Not only did Dog lose his daughter, Barbara Katie, in a horrible car accident the night before he married Beth, but he later learned that it was possible that the father of Barbara's son, Travis, was beating the child.
Reports of abuse began after taped evidence proved that the child's father was abusing him. A neighbor made the tape and called police about the abuse. Police removed the child from his home and handed him over to his grandfather, Dog, for custody. Apparently, the allegations made by Lyssa in her book did not come into play in the judge's decision.
'To hear the audiotape of my grandson being abused was torture," Chapman told press before commenting that he told his son-in-law to get help for his anger problems.
1 Changes in the bail bond system got the second Dog The Bounty Hunter show canceled
Dog got a second life on TV, thanks to CMT and a new show called Dog and Beth: On The Hunt. But that show only lasted a few seasons.
Sure, there was speculation that all the controversies surrounding Dog and his family's life finally caught up with him, but the truth is that the show probably got canned because laws concerning the bails bonds system started to change.
These changes to laws will eventually make bounty hunters a thing of the past, meaning that guys like Dog will end up unemployed. And if Dog is no longer a bounty hunter, TV networks are no longer interested in his life. Although Dog maintains a presence in fighting against bail reform, it's only a matter of time before those reforms take place.
Do you have any other dark secrets behind Dog the Bounty Hunter to share? Leave them in the comments!
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