A Dog’s Purpose Animal Supplier Hits Back Against Animal-Abuse Allegations

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Film Title: A Dog's Purpose
Photo: Joe Lederer/Universal Pictures

The controversy surrounding video footage of a handler pushing a dog into a pool for a stunt while filming A Dog’s Purpose continues, and the movie’s animal supplier has released a statement contextualizing the footage released to TMZ. Ahead of Friday’s release, Birds and Animals Unlimited has defended production practices on A Dog’s Purpose, blaming the “falsely edited video” for misrepresenting how the animal actors were treated on set. “It portrayed a dog being forced to enter a pool against its will and suggested that the dog was traumatized as a result. No such thing occurred, nor would it ever occur under the supervision of our animal trainers,” Birds and Animals Unlimited said in a statement provided to Deadline. The handlers’ account matches the one producer Gavin Polone gave in an op-ed: While rehearsing the rushing-water-rescue scene, the German shepherd (named Hercules) was fine. When the dog’s mark was moved to the other side of the pool, Hercules no longer wanted to enter the pool, so handlers returned him to his original mark. “These safety measures that were put in place worked flawlessly to ensure that no harm came to the dog (or the people) who were in the water during filming that day,” the animal supplier clarified in the statement. PETA, which plans to picket the opening of A Dog’s Purpose, has been critical of Birds and Animals Unlimited in the past, accusing the company of several violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act and alleging that several animals have either died or been mistreated under the supplier’s care.

Dog’s Purpose Animal Supplier Releases Statement