A Dog's Purpose: Terrified dog filmed being pushed into water during shooting

The film adapts the 2010 novel of the same name by W. Bruce Cameron, supposedly a tribute to the unique relationship between dog and man

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The Independent Culture

PETA has called for a boycott on the upcoming film A Dog's Purpose, after TMZ posted footage that shows a frightened dog being pushed into rushing water on set.

Shot in Winnipeg, Canada, the video shows a German Shepherd named Hercules being pushed into and pulled out of a rushing stream of water, clearly against its will; with the voice heard saying, "Well, he ain't going to calm down until he goes in the water. Just got to throw him in." A second clip shows the dog being completely submerged in the water, while people begin shouting and rushing towards the animal.

The dog seen is one of at least five dogs used in the production; directed by Lasse Hallström, the film adapts the 2010 novel of the same name by W. Bruce Cameron, and is supposedly meant to pay tribute to the unique relationship between dog and man - as one dog Bailey (voiced by Josh Gad), is reincarnated through different breeds. 

PETA's boycott includes the statement, "The apparent on-set incident, which is hard to watch, may come as an unwelcome surprise to unsuspecting moviegoers who care about dogs — especially given the title of the film, based on the hit book of the same name."

TMZ later reported that a member of the American Humane Association who was on set at the time of the incident, responsible for the safety of animal actors, has since been suspended; though Amblin Pictures and Universal Pictures have responded to the incident with, "While we continue to review the circumstances shown in the edited footage, Amblin is confident that great care and concern was shown for the German Shepherd Hercules, as well as for all of the other dogs featured throughout the production of the film."

"There were several days of rehearsal of the water scenes to ensure Hercules was comfortable with all of the stunts. On the day of the shoot, ‪Hercules did not want to perform the stunt portrayed on the tape so the Amblin production team did not proceed with filming that shot."

Both the director and star Josh Gad have since responded to the incident; with Lasse Hallström stating he was not on set when the incident took place and that, "we were all committed to providing a loving and safe environment for all the animals in the film. I have been promised that a thorough investigation into this situation is underway and that any wrongdoing will be reported and punished."





Gad took to Facebook to write, "A few months ago, I was approached to lend my voice to the film A Dog's Purpose. As I sat in a dark screening room, I was beyond touched and moved by what I saw... a movie that captures the beauty and pain of loving a pet. I signed on to a film that truly stands out as one of the most beautiful love letters to animals I have ever seen."

"Today, however, I saw a disturbing video that appears to show a scared German Shepard [sic] being forced to perform a stunt on the set of this film. While I do not know all of the details and cannot speak to the level of care and caution that went into this moment (as I was never on set for the making of this film), I am shaken and sad to see any animal put in a situation against its will."

"As the proud owner of a rescue dog and a fervent supporter of organizations like PETA, I have reached out to the production team and studio to ask for an explanation for these disturbing images."