A Dog’s Purpose

Maya Kimmel

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On 18 January 2017, the website and TV show TMZ published a video that allegedly shows a frightened German shepherd being forced into churning waters on the set of the movie based on the novel A Dog’s Purpose. Author W. Bruce Cameron is defending the movie against claims of animal mistreatment after he said he viewed additional footage from the incident portrayed in a leaked viral video. “I have since viewed footage taken of the day in question, when I wasn’t there, and it paints an entirely different picture,” he said in a statement via a representative and posted on the novel’s official Facebook page. “The written commentary accompanying the edited video mischaracterizes what happened.”

According to CNN, “The video’s release led to calls for boycott from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] and caused producer Amblin Entertainment and distributor Universal Pictures to cancel plans for the movie’s upcoming Los Angeles premiere event.” American Humane, an organization that ensures the safety and well being of animals used in film and TV productions, also placed an on-set monitor on leave following the unauthorized release of the video.Cameron said he found the video “…to be shocking because when I was on set, the ethic of everyone was the safety and comfort of the dogs” CNN news reports.

Cameron said the additional footage from earlier in the day in question shows Hercules, the dog in the video, “joyfully jumping in the pool”.  Cameron wrote, “When he was asked to perform the stunt from the other side of the pool, which was not how he had been doing it all day, he balked. The mistake was trying to dip the dog in the water to show him it was okay — the water wasn’t his issue, it was the location that was the issue, and the dog happily did the stunt when he was allowed to return to his original spot.”

Cameron understands the issues and wants to make sure that all the dogs in the film are safe. He wants the movie to encourage people to adopt dogs because of the journey it took them to make the film. He supports animal awareness and will address any other concerns or questions.

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