WARNING: video contains footage of an animal in distress and should be viewed with discretion
The release of A Dog’s Purpose is meant to be a love letter to dog lovers all across the globe. The film follows a dog named Bailey as he lives his life and is reincarnated as various different dogs over the years, including a German Shepherd police dog. The film would likely pass as a harmless piece of January fluff at the theaters if not for a leaked video showing the Shepherd in question allegedly being forced to perform a stunt in rushing water. This video, embedded above, has created outrage for many who feel it shows the mistreatment of the animal actors used during the production of the film.
According to Mashable, Amblin Partners has defended the production against the leaked footage and claimed that the dogs used in the production were always under “great care”:
“While we continue to review the circumstances shown in the edited footage, Amblin is confident that great care and concern was shown for the German Shepherd Hercules, as well as for all of the other dogs featured throughout the production of the film,” the company said. “There were several days of rehearsal of the water scenes to ensure Hercules was comfortable with all of the stunts. On the day of the shoot, Hercules did not want to perform the stunt portrayed on the tape so the Amblin production team did not proceed with filming that shot.”