Footage Leaked of Potential Animal Abuse on Set of 'A Dog's Purpose'

Posted by Amber King
german shepherd lying in sand

The highly-anticipated movie, "A Dog's Purpose" is receiving backlash from animal advocates due to leaked footage.

Animal lovers everywhere couldn't help but shed a tear while watching the trailer to the upcoming Universal film, "A Dog's Purpose." Based off the popular book by W. Bruce Cameron, the movie follows the spirit of one dog as he is reborn on a mission to find his true purpose.

It's heartwarming, funny, sad--everything a good family movie should be--but anger is the public's predominant feeling only a week before the film's scheduled release.

A leaked video from the 2015 filming appears to show trainers forcing a German Shepherd named Hercules to perform a stunt he obviously didn't want to do. The video shows the dog shaking and clawing his way toward safety as his trainer attempts to force him into a pool of rushing water. In another clip, the dog is seen in danger of drowning before a delayed rescue is performed.


The same animal lovers who cried over the trailer are now enraged at what seems to be a serious case of animal abuse. PETA has released a statement encouraging a boycott of the film to "send the message that dogs and other animals should be treated humanely, not as movie props."

Hercules has since recovered from the ordeal, but the public is demanding answers about how the situation was allowed to happen. American Humane is an organization that ensures the safety and well-being of animals used in filming. They're the ones that give movies and TV shows the "no dogs were harmed in the making of this film" stamp, and they've been on set of more than 2,000 productions.

An American Humane representative was on-set during the filming of "A Dog's Purpose," and according to a press statement, that individual has been placed on immediate leave. They have also brought in a third party to conduct an investigation. They told CNN:

"American Humane has reviewed the video and we are disturbed and concerned by the footage. When the dog showed signs of resistance to jumping in the water, the scene should have been stopped."

Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures also released a statement saying,

"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."

The human star of the film, actor Josh Gad, spoke out on Twitter saying he was "shaken and sad" about the "disturbing" footage.

With the release date only a week away, box office analyst Jeff Bock told USA Today:

"This is about as bad as it gets. No mistake about it, this is the worst thing to happen to a  film a week before it hits theaters."

Will you be going to see "A Dog's Purpose" in theaters on Jan. 27? Let us know in the comments.

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Footage Leaked of Potential Animal Abuse on Set of 'A Dog's Purpose'