Universal Picture’s new film ‘A DOG’S PURPOSE’ is in a boatload of hot water after TMZ recently released a disturbing new video in which a dog is allegedly being tortured on set.
The minute-long video captures a dog trainer forcibly shoving a German Shepherd called Hercules into a large, rapidly-flowing pool. The video concludes with Hercules appearing to drown. Since then it has been revealed that the dog is was not harmed, but the video raises questions.
According to IMDb, Raymond W. Beal, a very well-respected and highly-regarded animal trainer, was on budget as the film’s head trainer. However, it’s unclear if he was the one handling the dog at the time.
Film director Lasse Hallstrom was not present during the filming of this scene and has made a public statement via Twitter.
“I have been promised that a thorough investigation into this situation is underway and that wrongdoing will be reported and punished”.
Many people have flocked to social media prompting a PETA boycott of the film.
Film star Josh Gad also took to Twitter to issue a statement:
“While I do not know the details and cannot speak to the level of care and caution that went into this moment, I am shaken and sad to see any animal put in a situation against [its] will.”
Gad says that he does in fact support PETA, and has reached out to the production team and studio to ask for an explanation of what happened.
Hollywood animal supplier Birds and Animals Unlimited called the video falsely edited and said an American Humane representative was present at all filming that involved Hercules.
Author of “A Dog’s Purpose,” W. Bruce Cameron has raised concerns about the footage.
In an interview with E! News, Cameron says he found the video shocking. He said nothing malicious or wrong happened while he was on set.
Cameron also says he believes the issue involved Hercules’s nervousness about the spot from which he was trained to jump into the water.
The film which is set to open Jan. 27. The film crew has not issued an official statement or stated if they plan postponing the release.