A Dog’s Purpose Animal Abuse Footage Was “Manipulated”

Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Less than a month a disturbing behind-the-scenes video was released from the set of A Dog's Purpose, an independent investigator has concluded the footage was manipulated. The video shows a frightened German shepherd being forced into a turbulent pool. Moments later, the video cuts to the dog, Hercules, being pulled under water. However, the latter scene takes place in another area of the pool. In a statement published on their website, American Humane, the organization responsible for the care of the animals on A Dog's Purpose said: "An independent, third-party investigation conducted by a respected animal cruelty expert into the treatment of animals in the filming of A Dog’s Purpose concluded that an edited video given to the gossip site TMZ mischaracterized the events on the set. 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.” Also outlined in the statement were the "full spectrum of preparation and safety measures" in place to ensure the animal's safety. Shortly after the footage was released, the film received harsh backlash from animals rights advocacy groups and anti-cruelty organizations. Producers and stars of the movie rushed to deny wrongdoing. Moviegoers and organizations like PETA also expressed concern and were vocal about not supporting the film, which released on January 27. Despite the negative backlash, the film still managed to bring in $5.3 million, landing it at the number two spot for its opening weekend, according to Variety.

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