Controversial footage from the film set of A Dog’s Purpose that sparked outrage was manipulated and “mischaracterized events on the set,” according to a statement released by American Humane Association.
The video that was released on TMZ and caused a public outcry on social media lead to the cancellation of the film’s premiere and many of the film’s screenings and lead people and animal rights organization PETA to demand a boycott of the film.
The video also caused concern and upset among the filmmakers involved in the project.
The leaked video purportedly shows a frightened German Shepherd being forced into churning water. However, third—party findings released by American Humane Association, the association responsible for overseeing animal safety on the movie set, stated that preventative safety measures were in place to protect the dog.
A “respected animal cruelty expert” (a board-certified veterinarian) concluded the dog was momentarily stressed but suffered no ill effects.
According to American Humane, the dog, Hercules, was chosen because of his love for the water and was conditioned for the water scenes over a six-week period. American Humane agreed that the “handling of the dog in the first scene in the video should have been gentler and signs of stress recognized earlier,” but said that the production was adjusted and proceeded without incident.
Furthermore, “The video was deliberately edited for the purpose of misleading the public and stoking outrage,” the statement reads. “In fact, the two scenes shown in the edited video were filmed at different times.”
The report also pointed out that the “manipulated video” was timed “only days before the movie’s premiere” which the statement said raises “serious questions about their motives and ethics”.