PETA is calling for a boycott of A Dog’s Purpose after video surfaced of a dog being forced to perform a stunt despite its obvious distress. In the footage, a German shepherd is dropped into a body of mechanically churning water after desperately struggling to break free. Now, “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 says. Meanwhile, Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures, the companies behind the film, are insisting that the dog was not put in harm’s way, releasing a statement that says, “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 … 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.” For their parts, A Dog’s Purpose director Lasse Hallström and voice actor Josh Gad have expressed their dismay with the situation, with the latter writing in a note posted on Twitter that he is “shaken and sad to see any animal put in a situation against its will.” Whatever a dog’s purpose is, this ain’t it.
“A Dog’s Purpose.” Photo: Universal Pictures