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“A Dog’s Purpose” Premiere Cancelled Amidst Animal Abuse Controversy
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A Dog’s Purpose. Photo courtesy of Amblin Pictures.

Summary: PETA is calling for a boycott of “A Dog’s Purpose” after video of the film’s alleged animal cruelty was recently published online.

Universal’s new movie “A Dog’s Purpose” was supposed to be a feel-good hit. Based upon a best-selling novel, it tells the schmaltzy story of how a dog finds the meaning of its life through the humans it meets. The movie seemed destined to be loved by animal lovers, but a recent behind-the-scenes footage leak has created a firestorm of controversy for the now possibly doomed picture.

  
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On Wednesday, TMZ released 2015 set footage from “A Dog’s Purpose,” which showed one of the terrified dog actors being forced into frothing water in Canada. The german shepherd named Hercules appeared to be clawing its way out of a tub resembling rushing water and it looked distressed. TMZ said that one crew member revealed that he was disturbed by how the animal was treated.

The movie’s production companies, Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures, saw the footage and told TMZ that they were investigating the matter. The film’s director Lasse Hallström was on set the day of the leaked tape’s shoot, and there was also a member from the Amerian Humane Association, the group that is responsible for monitoring animal treatment on film sets.

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Hallstrom has responded to the video on Twitter, and he feigned ignorance to what had happened.

“I am appalled too!” the director tweeted. “I DIDN’T KNOW THIS HAD HAPPENED ON MY SET UNTIL I SAW THE TAPE! I DIRECTED VIA MONITORS THAT DIDNT SEE THIS!”



Mark Stubis from the American Humane Association said that the AHA representative who was on set that day has been placed on administrative leave. He told E! News that, “When the dog showed signs of resistance to jumping in the water, the scene should have been stopped.”

After the footage was published, animal-rights group PETA called for a boycott of the film, which stars Dennis Quaid and Josh Gad.

“[The] footage shows a terrified dog who is forced into churning water on set,” PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange told ABC News. “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.”

Amidst the controversy, Amblin and Universal announced today that they were canceling the film’s press junket as well as the premiere.

“Because Amblin’s review into the edited video released yesterday is still ongoing, distributor Universal Pictures has decided it is in the best interest of A Dog’s Purpose to cancel this weekend’s premiere and press junket,” Amblin and Universal told E! News. “Amblin and Universal do not want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between animals and humans.”

The film will be released next Friday. The investigation into the matter is still pending and there has not been any word yet if animal abuse charges will be filed.

Will you still watch “A Dog’s Purpose?” Do you think that the video showed animal abuse? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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