A Dog’s Purpose actor Josh Gad has said he is “shaken” after seeing some disturbing behind-the-scenes footage.
The footage is described by Gad, who appears in the upcoming film as the voice of the dog, as “a scared German Shepard being forced to perform a stunt.” The video was initially leaked through TMZ.
Gad continued to say that he doesn’t have the full context, but adds, “I am shaken and sad to see any animal put in a situation against its will.” Director Lasse Hallstrom added “I have been promised that a thorough investigation into this situation is underway and that any wrongdoing will be reported and punished.”
— Amplify (@thisisamplify) January 19, 2017
In the wake of the release of the video, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have called for a boycott of the upcoming Universal movie.
“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,” the group said.
According to Variety, Amblin Partners and Universal Pictures issued a statement saying that the dog in the video, named Hercules, had been rehearsed for the water scenes but balked on the day of the shooting so the production team did not proceed. The companies said they were reviewing the footage.
“‘A Dog’s Purpose,’ produced by Amblin Entertainment and distributed by Universal Pictures, is a celebration of the special connection between humans and their dogs,” the companies said. “And in the spirit of this relationship, the Amblin production team followed rigorous protocols to foster an ethical and safe environment for the animals.”
“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. 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.”
“Hercules is happy and healthy,” the statement concluded.