A Dog's Purpose Set Video Shows Dog Being Forced Into Rough Water

Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures.
A disturbing behind-the-scenes video from the set of A Dog's Purpose has people questioning the treatment of the dog in the scene and calling for a boycott of the movie. TMZ first obtained the controversial clip, apparently filmed by a crew member, that shows a German Shepherd being forced into rapidly moving water. (Per TMZ, at least five different dogs were used to produce the movie, which is about a dog who reincarnates into different breeds with new owners.)

It is clear in the minute-long video that the dog is scared of going into the large pool, in which a quick current was created by eight motors churning the water. The handler keeps pushing the dog (one of the five used in filming) towards the edge of the water, while the dog struggles to stay on dry land using is paws.

Throughout the video — shot on the Winnipeg, Canada set of the drama in November 2015, reports TMZ — there are off-camera voices commenting on the unfolding situation. "You just got to throw him in!" one of them says. When the dog is finally forced into the water, the animal goes underwater immediately, somebody yells, "Cut it!" and several people hurry to the dog.

The last few seconds of the video show a different incident, with the dog submerged in the pool struggling to swim across the current towards a handler.

Amblin Partners and Universal Pictures told TMZ in a statement, "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."

But animal rights activist organization PETA has already come out ardently against A Dog's Purpose. "PETA is calling on dog lovers to boycott the film in order to send the message that dogs and other animals should be treated humanely, not as movie props," the group said in a statement reported by People.

The emotional trailer for the film alone had us bawl (and made some of us prone to crying about animals weary of even seeing it). Now, this controversy surrounding the movie is upsetting us all over again — and it hasn't even hit theaters yet. A Dog's Purpose, starring Britt Robertson, Dennis Quaid, and Josh Gad as the dog's voice, is out on January 27.


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