9. Amblin Entertainment, the production company behind A Dog’s Purpose, issued a statement regarding the German shepherd, named Hercules, promising that he’s “happy and healthy.”
“A Dog’s Purpose, produced by Amblin Entertainment and distributed by Universal Pictures, is a celebration of the special connection between humans and their dogs. And in the spirit of this relationship, the Amblin production team followed rigorous protocols to foster an ethical and safe environment for the animals.
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. There were several days of rehearsal of the water scenes to ensure Hercules was comfortable with all of the stunts. 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.
Hercules is happy and healthy.”
11. PETA has also called for dog lovers to boycott A Dog’s Purpose when it opens in theaters on Jan. 27.
“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,” PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange wrote in a statement to BuzzFeed News.
PETA recently did an investigation into Birds & Animals Unlimited (BAU), which reportedly provided the dogs used in A Dog’s Purpose. According to their findings, BAU animals “are denied veterinary care, forced to sleep outdoors in the cold without bedding for warmth, made to live in filthy conditions, and more.”
12. On Thursday evening, Universal, the movie’s distributor, announced it was canceling the premiere event and press junket.
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“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 do not want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between animals and humans.
“Since the emergence of the footage, Amblin has engaged with many associated with the production of the film, including safety personnel, trainers and stunt coordinators as part of their in-depth review. While we are all disheartened by the appearance of an animal in distress, everyone has assured us that Hercules the German Shepherd was not harmed throughout the filmmaking.
We continue to support this film, are incredibly proud of it and will release it for audiences nationwide next Friday.”
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Universal regarding the release date and the petition for the proceeds to be donated to animal welfare.
Claudia Rosenbaum contributed reporting to this post.