Published: Mon, February 06, 2017
Culture | By Kelly Harrison

'A Dog's Purpose' video was intentionally misleading, investigation reveals


Earlier this week, Variety (via Vulture) ran a guest column by American Humane CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert to discuss her company's investigation into the treatment of the dogs on the set of A Dog's objective. The dog was immediately taken to a warming tent, an examination found no signs of stress, and the dog later was returned to filming, it said. The video quickly went viral and prompted the cancelation of the film's premiere while sparking protests at theaters where the film was being released.

The animal welfare organization, which was in charge of supervising animals on set of the comedy-drama about a canine searching for the meaning of life, said the results come from an "independent, third-party investigation" following the release last month to TMZ of video showing a dog appearing to be distressed and forced to jump into rushing water for a stunt.

Contrary to what the video appears to show, according to the group, the dog was not forced to swim in water at anytime.

"No animals were harmed in those scenes and numerous preventative safety measures were in place", the investigation found.

The filmmakers behind A Dog's objective came under criticism last month when TMZ published a video in which a dog named Hercules is seen clawing at a pool's edge and trying to get away as a trainer attempts to force him into roiling water.

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"The dog was selected for his love of the water, and had been professionally trained and conditioned for the water scenes over the course of six weeks, using positive training techniques", the news release from American Humane states.

When the controversial video first surfaced in January, stars were quick to denounce the damaging claims of animal abuse.

One of the AHA's certified animal safety representatives was on set during the filming as well as five other experts to "supervise and safeguard the dog".

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".

"That being said, it is important to note that this was recognized and the scene did not proceed as insinuated by the misleadingly edited video", the organization wrote.

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