A popular Delhi-based YouTuber who boasts more than 4 million subscribers on the platform has been arrested after he tied balloons to his dog "in an attempt to make it fly." According to DCP south Atul Thakur, 32-year-old Gaurav Sharma was taken into police custody on charges of animal cruelty. The Hindustan Times reports Sharma's arrest came after the animal welfare organization People for Animals (PFA) filed a complaint. A case has since been registered against the popular vlogger in Malviya Nagar police station.
The controversy surrounding Sharma was sparked in response to a May 21-released YouTube video titled "Flying Dollar with helium gas balloon." In the video, Sharma's dog could be seen with several helium balloons tied to it. As the YouTuber let go of his pet, Dollar began to float in the air and made it to the second floor of a building before someone on the balcony caught the dog. In the video, Sharma told viewers, "don't take it wrong," explaining that he and the others involved in the clip "will take all safety precautions." The video included a glimpse of what went into floating the dog, with Sharma seen preparing drones and other equipment and also visiting a shop first to buy balloons, where he asked an employee how many balloons it would take to make Dollar float.
The video, which gained several thousand views, quickly sparked outrage on social media. The backlash eventually prompted Sharma to delete the original video, though the video has been reshared by several other accounts. According to the BBC, Sharma has also since released an apology video. In that video, he explained that he took "all safety measures" while making the video with his dog, Dollar. He also explained that he was influenced by other YouTubers he had watched doing similar stunts. He asked viewers not to be influenced by his actions in the video and said he is a pet lover and treats Dollar like a child.
At this time, it does not appear that Sharma has released any further comment regarding the incident. His YouTube account, GAURAVZONE, boasts 4.15 million subscribers. The videos he uploads typically show him and his friends and family tackling bizarre challenges. He has also shared several videos about his dog, with Dexerto reporting that those videos show him putting the dog "through a series of similarly bizarre challenges."