Animal Rights Organization Questions TMZ Manipulated Video

PetGuide
PetGuide logo

You’ve probably seen it…the video that shows footage from the movie, “A Dog’s Purpose.” The clip shows a trainer forcing a scared and nervous German Shepherd actor to swim. Since its release, there’s been public outrage and boycotting of the movie for alleged unethical and abusive practices.

But American Humane, an impartial animal rights organization that is committed to ensuring the safety, health and well-being of animals says that an independent, third-party investigation of the film determined that the leaked video was purposely edited to mislead and incite public outrage over the animal’s treatment.

Related: A Dog’s Purpose Cancels Premiere, But Opens Quietly Amid Abuse Allegations

American Humane certifies that no animals are harmed in television and film shoots, and said the video made in Winnipeg in 2015 was purposely manipulated to look as if the dog was terrified. The clip that went viral shows a trainer trying to put the dog into a pool that was staged to look like rapids, while the dog desperately tried to scramble out. Then, the clip showed the dog being dunked under the water for several seconds, followed by the trainers shouting, “Stop!”

American Humane says that the two scenes shown in the clearly edited video were filmed at different times, and that the dog shown in the first part of the clip was the trigger for the scene to be stopped. More, they say that according to the investigation results, they stand firm in saying that the dog was never forced to swim in the water at any time.

Though the canine actor was selected because he loved water, and had been trained and conditioned for several weeks, American Humane says that he was never asked to do anything he showed signs of uncomfortability with. In fact, in the last scene, the dog’s handlers immediately helped him out of the water and took him to a warming tent to be carefully examined. He showed no signs of stress, and appeared to want to go back to the water, but just to be cautious, American Humane ended the filming of any more scenes with the dog.

Related: Handler Shows Pics, Video of “A Dog’s Purpose” Pooch Actor Hercules Safe

In response to the outrage and several boycotts, American Humane says the third-party investigation was done by a respected animal cruelty expert, and questioned why the clearly edited video was ‘leaked’ more than 15 months after being shot, particularly right before the movie’s big opening. Though the organization does agree that the dog’s handling in the first scene could have been gentler, and recognition of distress could have happened earlier, once it was recognized, it was immediately stopped and the dog’s welfare was priority for the entire film crew.

Lead actor Dennis Quaid said that he was there the entire time and never did he see anything but the animals being treated, “Great.” Quaid said if there was any neglect or abuse to any of the animals, he’d have walked off the set, and finds the entire leaking of a purposely manipulated (and sold for money) video to be disgraceful.

In spite of the controversy, the movie brought in $20 million at opening and was second place in top movies, which is what filmmakers anticipated, and they attribute that to devoted animal lovers seeking the ‘truth’ of their movie.