After a lengthy investigation into activity behind the scenes, it turns out that the seemingly horrifying video of a dog being abused on the set of A Dog’s Purpose was completely false. American Humane released a report on Friday that asserts an independent organization has completed a third-party investigation of the incident and “completely debunked” the accusations of animal abuse at any time on set and specifically in this situation. The German Shepherd in question was never forced into the water as it seemed and in fact the video spliced together two completely separate scenes being filmed to make it appear that that was the case.
People on set even confirmed after the swimming scene the pup wanted to get right back in the water and was wagging his tail — in fact he was chosen for the stunt specifically because of his love of water. Even better, the dog was visited by a vet recently and was confirmed to be in perfect health. The report also concluded that American Humane’s Certified Animal Safety Representatives were on set as required in addition to “five safety specialists and animal handlers” who made sure that the dog was monitored and taken care of as soon as he exited the water.
American Humane also included an accusation of PETA’s (which they call a “radical organization”) attempt to deliberately mislead the public with a “manufactured controversy” promoted only to prove their existing biases. They also noted that
“decisions by the individual or individuals who captured and deliberately edited the footage, and then waited longer than 15 months to release the manipulated video only days before the movie’s premiere, raise serious questions about their motives and ethics.”
They don’t explicitly accuse PETA of being the ones who waited to release the video, or of coordinating the actual release, but the bookending of the release with such notes and accusations certainly does paint a pointed picture of what could have happened here.
Lucky for the movie all of the bad headlines didn’t result in a complete flop as it opened to a nearly $18.4M box office. Besides the cancellation of the movie’s premiere and a week straight of awful press, the film seems to have avoided too bad an outcome after this supposed sabotage. So it all worked out!
(via American Humane)