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Premiere of ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ canceled amid treatment issue

  • UNIVERSAL PICTURES VIA AP

    Dennis Quaid with a dog, voiced by Josh Gad, in a scene from “A Dog’s Purpose.”

LOS ANGELES >> This weekend’s premiere of “A Dog’s Purpose” has been canceled following the release of a video that appears to show a frightened dog being forced into churning water during production of the film.

TMZ published the video Wednesday showing a man struggling to put a dog into a pool of rushing water while the animal fights to stay out.

Producer Amblin Entertainment and distributor Universal Pictures haven’t disputed the authenticity of the footage.

They say in a joint statement that Universal decided to cancel the premiere because Amblin’s review of the video is ongoing and they don’t want “anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between animals and humans.”

“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,” the statement said.

The companies say the film will be released nationwide as scheduled Jan. 27.

W. Bruce Cameron, who wrote the novel on which the film is based, says the events in the video don’t reflect what he saw when he visited the set in person.

“The ethic of everyone was the safety and comfort of the dogs,” Cameron wrote in a Facebook post today.

“The dog was not terrified and not thrown in the water,” he continued. “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.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called the cancellation of the premiere appropriate after earlier calling for a boycott of the film.

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  • I saw the TV news clip video of the (apparent) trainer with the dog at the edge of the flowing, frothing water. The trainer tried to get the dog into the water and the dog seemed to not want anything to do with going into the water. At one point the “trainer” almost gets the dog in but the dog hangs on to the edge of the platform with it’s front paws and hauls itself back up. If one were to anthropomorphize the dog’s state of mind, it sure seemed that the dog was scared about going into the water. The movie producers should come out with a conciliatory statement and/or explanation forthwith in order to defuse this situation. Remaining silent or delaying a statement will only aggravate and enrage the people who are greatly concerned about the video. This is the “internet age”, after all, and this issue will only spread like wildfire.

  • The terrified poor dog was literally physically forced into the churning ominous water by his insensitive handler. At one point the dog was
    underwater and could have easily drowned – it is then that the crew called “cut” as it was obvious that the dog was in distress.

    Watch the video yourself and form your own opinion on the situation although this film should be boycotted by anyone who cares for the
    welfare of innocent animals who have no voice of their own.

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