Leaked footage has shown a dog being forced into rushing water so that filmmakers can get their desired dramatic scene. The leaked video shows the filming of an upcoming Hollywood movie titled “A Dog’s Purpose”, where a German Shepherd is being shoved into rushing water that was created by eight outboard motors to give the desired violent rushing river effect, sources connected to the production told TMZ. Despite the dog, who is one of at least 5 dogs used in the production, heavily resisting being pushed into the water, workers on the film set continue to force the dog in. At one point in the footage, the distressed animal gets close to being in the water, with one leg being submerged, to which he reacts by desperately scrambling to the surface whilst clawing the edge of the pool. During one point of the video, which was shot outside of Winnipeg in Canada in November 2015, a voice can be heard from one of the workers who says, “you’ve just gotta throw him in” between laughing at the struggling dog.
As the hard-to-watch video continues, the dog can be seen finally entering the water through the force of the ‘handler’. However, once the dog enters the moving water, he becomes immediately fully submerged. At this point, all crew members can be heard shouting as they all rush to pull him out of the violent water before the video abruptly cuts out. Whilst it is unclear whether the submersion was intentional for filming purposes, at the time of the incident from the video someone can be heard immediately yelling “Cut it!” as the handlers rush to the animal’s aid. TMZ were told that the film’s director, Lasse Wallström, was present during the entire scene being filmed, whilst a number of crew members reportedly watched on extremely disturbed by the way that the dog was being treated throughout the filming of the scene.
Amblin Partners and Universal Pictures told TMZ after watching the video, “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”. American actor, Josh Gad, whose voice is used for one of the dogs in the movie, took to his 200,000 followers on Twitter to issue a statement which claimed that he has asked the studio and production team for an explanation of the occurrences, and what he states are “disturbing images”. He claimed that he was very troubled by the video, writing that he was “shaken and sad to see any animal put in a situation against its will.
According to the Daily Mail, a safety representative from the American Humane Association who was working on the film has since been suspended by the organization, whilst an independent investigator is being hired to explore the incident. Animal rights group PETA have slammed the footage and called on people to boycott the film. The organization tweeted, “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”. There has since been a petition to ban the release of the movie, which was due to come out this month.