American Humane concludes investigation into ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ footage

On Friday, the American Humane Association released the findings of an investigation into the seemingly damning behind-the-scenes footage of the movie, “A Dog’s Purpose.” According to American Humane, the investigation into allegations of animal cruelty was completed by a third-party which concluded that the video released by TMZ was “heavily edited” and it mischaracterized the actual events that took place on the set.

The release states:

The decisions by the individual or individuals who captured and deliberately edited the footage, and then waited longer than 15 months to release the manipulated video only days before the movie’s premiere, raise serious questions about their motives and ethics. The findings of the independent investigation confirm that no animals were harmed in those scenes and numerous preventative safety measures were in place.

According to the release, the investigation confirmed that the dog in the concerning scene was “treated with great care, attentiveness and respect.” And it was noted that the scene, which shows the German shepherd showing signs of stress, did not proceed as was insinuated by the edited video footage.

Dr. Kwane Stewart, the veterinarian who heads American Humane’s “No Animals Were Harmed” program stated:

American Humane is at the forefront of combating cruelty to animals through our rescue efforts, support of anti-cruelty raids, and work to improve conditions for animals around the world. It is disappointing that the public was misled by a manufactured controversy promoted by a radical organization like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals with a mission to remove animals from films and other parts of our lives. We are the first to address and fight cruelty and abuse, and no such things happened on the set of ‘A Dog Purpose.’”

Read more about the investigative findings here.

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Author of ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ viewed unedited footage – states ‘mis-characterized’

W. Bruce Cameron, the author of “A Dog’s Purpose,” is speaking out in the wake of public backlash following TMZ’s leaked behind-the-scenes footage which appears to show a distressed German shepherd being forced into churning water.

The footage which TMZ released appears to have been heavily edited and Cameron has released an official statement addressing the timing, and the editing, of the leaked video.

Cameron statement states:

First I want to thank everyone—and there have been literally thousands of you—who have written to express support. Your words and thoughts mean the world to us.
I found the video we’ve all seen to be shocking because when I was on set, the ethic of everyone was the safety and comfort of the dogs.
If the people who shot and edited the video thought something was wrong, why did they wait fifteen months to do anything about it, instead of immediately going to the authorities?
I have since viewed footage taken of the day in question, when I wasn’t there, and it paints an entirely different picture.

Cameron continued:

The written commentary accompanying the edited video mischaracterizes what happened.
The dog was not terrified and not thrown in the water—I’ve seen footage of Hercules earlier that day joyfully jumping in the pool. When he was asked to perform the stunt from the other side of the pool, which was not how he had been doing it all day, he balked.
The mistake was trying to dip the dog in the water to show him it was okay—the water wasn’t his issue, it was the location that was the issue, and the dog happily did the stunt when he was allowed to return to his original spot.
I also didn’t like it when Hercules’s head briefly went under water, but there was a scuba diver and a trainer in the pool to protect him. He loves the water, wasn’t in danger, and wasn’t upset.

He concluded his statement:

On a movie where the mantra was the safety and comfort of the dogs, mistakes were made, and everything needs to be done to make sure those errors are not repeated.
But the reason American Humane certifies that no animals were harmed during the making of the film is that no animals were harmed during the making of the film.
I celebrate animal rescue and am proud of the values that show up in A Dog’s Purpose. – Bruce

Critics of TMZ’s release of the edited footage point first and foremost to the timing – 15 months after the incident took place, and shortly before the movie’s premiere (which was cancelled because of the turmoil surrounding the video footage). PETA has been calling for a boycott of the movie and there is speculation that the organization is using the leaked (and edited) footage to push their agenda to ensure that animals are not used for movies or for television productions.

According to Deadline, after the full investigation into the situation has been completed, the unedited video of the situation will likely be released to the public.

 

‘A Dog’s Purpose’ German shepherd – recent photos released

Following TMZ’s release of controversial behind-the-scenes footage from the “A Dog’s Purpose” movie, there is one question most everyone wants the answer to – how is the dog in the disturbing scene doing today?? According to Friday’s People, “Hercules,” the German shepherd in question, is doing just fine.

Multiple video clips, dated January 19, were released by makers of the film and they show a happy and apparently healthy German shepherd (who is reported to be Hercules) playing with a large, blue ball in a grassy field. Other photos, showing the dog resting comfortably on a dog bed, were also released.

Though the TMZ footage was disturbing (showing an unwilling German shepherd apparently being forced into churning water to create a scene in the movie) those involved with the making of the movie have maintained that the dog was not harmed. Critics of the leaked footage have noted that the clip appears to have been “heavily edited,” and question the motive of the release, which was in close proximity to the schedule premiere of the film.

TMZ’s leaked video has had quite the backlash – PETA has called for a boycott of the film, the American Humane representative, who was on set to ensure animal safety, was suspended, and the premiere of the movie was canceled by Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment.

The movie is meant to celebrate the relationship between animals and humans – instead, the behind-the-scenes footage has only served to stir up turmoil and anger.

Video clips here.

(Photo via Amblin Partners/People)


** If your dog does this, call your veterinarian!

Premiere of ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ cancelled amid animal cruelty reports

Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment have decided to cancel this Saturday’s premiere of “A Dog’s Purpose” after a disturbing video emerged on Wednesday, showing a German shepherd being forced into a raging current of water on the movie’s set while filming. Late Thursday, Universal released a statement stating the investigation “is still ongoing” and they have decided it is “in the best interest of “A Dog’s Purpose” to cancel this weekend’s premiere and press junket.

According to Variety, Universal Pictures is feeling the pressure from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) after the humane advocacy organization called for a boycott of the movie in order to send the message that dogs and other animals are not merely “props” for movies and should be treated humanely. The two companies issued the following statement:

“Since the emergence of the footage, Amblin has engaged with many associated with the production of the film, including safety personnel, trainers and stunt coordinators as part of their in-depth review. While we are all disheartened by the appearance of an animal in distress, everyone has assured us that Hercules the German Shepherd was not harmed throughout the filmmaking. We continue to support this film, are incredibly proud of it and will release it for audiences nationwide next Friday.

Because Amblin’s review into the edited video released yesterday is still ongoing, distributor Universal Pictures has decided it is in the best interest of A Dog’s Purpose to cancel this weekend’s premiere and press junket. Amblin and Universal do not want anything to overshadow a film that celebrates the relationship between humans and animals.”

In a previous statement, the companies have tried to reassure everyone that the German shepherd named Hercules had been rehearsed for the water scenes, but on that day he was in a panic. According to TMZ, who leaked footage of Hercules being forced into a pool that was meant to recreate rapids, the dog was forced in even though the video shows him desperately pawing at the bank in an effort to resist. When he is pounded by the waves and went under, the camera crew continued to shoot the film while crew rushed over to rescue the dog. A star in the film, Josh Gad, who voices for the main dog in the film tweeted in response to the controversy expressing how “shaken and sad” he was to see the disturbing video.

Read previous article here. (Photos for  premiere of  “A Dog’s Purpose” via Amblin Entertainment.)