Last month, disturbing behind-the-scenes footage from movie A Dog’s Purpose appeared to show a distressed German Shepard being forced into a pool of water, during a scene’s filming. Now, an independent investigation states the footage had been tampered with.
The American Humane Association, the organisation which supervised animals on the film’s set, issued a report concluding that no animals were harmed during the making of A Dog’s Purpose, following a third-party investigation by a respected animal cruelty expert. The report claims that footage handed to TMZ “mischaracterised the events on the set”, stating that the viral video was “deliberately edited for the purpose of misleading the public and stoking outrage.”
The association did however add its belief that “the handling of the dog in the first scene in the video should have been gentler and signs of stress recognised earlier,” despite the animal being treated with “great care, attentiveness and respect.”
After the reportedly doctored footage was published, a premiere for A Dog’s Purpose was cancelled. It was due to debut in Los Angeles, but production company Amblin Entertainment issued a statement saying: “Amblin and Universal do not want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between humans and animals.” Claims of animal cruelty were disputed at the time, with Amblin saying: “While we are all disheartened by the appearance of an animal in distress, everyone has assured us that Hercules the German Shepherd was not harmed throughout the filmmaking.” Watch a trailer for the film below.
A Dog’s Purpose, whose cast includes Dennis Quaid and Josh Gad, is due to hit UK cinemas this April.