The footage has caused a huge uproar and animal rights activists are up in arms and are asking people to boycott the film. Sources on set say that ultimately the dog went into the rushing water which was created by 8 outboard motors which was meant to create a raging river for a scene in the movie. Sources also said that the director, Lasse Hallström, was present the whole time.
Amblin Partners and Universal Pictures have seen the video and released a statement to TMZ that said, “Fostering a safe environment and ensuring the ethical treatment of our animal actors was of the utmost importance to those involved in making this film and we will look into the circumstances surrounding this video.”
The clip caused the American Humane Association to suspend the rep they had on set in Winnipeg. The AHA and the Chief Veterinary Office of Manitoba are also doing their own investigations to see what happened during that scene and why the dog was being forced against his will to jump into the water. PETA is asking for a boycott, and the premiere of A Dog’s Purpose was canceled, and so was its press junket in wake of the leaked footage.
Many people in the movie have spoken out about the video. The movie’s producer Gavin Polone wrote a long piece for The Hollywood Reporter about the video and he admits that what happened in the clip is inexcusable, but adds that the video is highly edited and makes it look like Hercules was thrown in and almost drowned. He also went on to say that he reviewed the footage again and he says that when the Shepard went into the water he did it of his own accord. He also called out the person who sold the photo to TMZ saying that if they truly cared then they would not have profited from the incident. Dennis Quaid, who stars in the movie, says that he never saw mistreatment of animals. He said that, “I was there. I never saw any abuse of any animal. If there had been, I would have walked. I certainly would have not been out here supporting the film if any abuse had occurred.”
After watching the video, we have a hard time believing that the dog wanted to go into the water on its own. He looks absolutely terrified and we completely understand why PETA wants to the movie to be boycotted.