'A Dog's Purpose' Boycott Ensues Following Animal Abuse Claims

A Dog's Purpose boycott has been called by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Animal lovers around the world were outraged yesterday after a disturbing clip from the set of the upcoming A Dog's Purpose movie was exposed on TMZ.

The clip, taken on the set of the movie in November of 2015, shows a German Shepherd being shoved into a pool of rushing water, apparently very much against the dog's will. The scared dog, named Hercules, tries to resist and avoid the water, but his trainer eventually pushes him in. Later in the video, the dog is in the pool but gets submerged in water until someone from the movie crew rushes towards him.

Following the release of the video, calls for a boycott of A Dog's Purpose have been heard from PETA and other animal rights advocates. According to the Guardian, PETA has released a statement explaining why a boycott of the movie is necessary.

"PETA is calling on dog lovers to boycott the film A Dog's Purpose in order to send the message that dogs and other animals should be treated humanely, not as movie props."

A Dog's Purpose, directed by Lasse Hallstrom, is set to be released in the United States on January 27. It stars Britt Robertson, Dennis Quaid, and Josh Gad, and tells the story of a dog who goes through several lifetimes and incarnations, and between different owners, during a mission to discover his purpose in life.

The director of A Dog's Purpose, Lasse Hallstrom, took to Twitter to say he is "very disturbed" by the released video.

"I did not witness these actions. We were all committed to providing a loving and safe environment for all the animals in the film. I have been promised that a thorough investigation into this situation is underway and that any wrongdoing will be reported and punished."
 A Dog's Purpose actor Josh Gad attends the 2016 Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Josh Gad. [Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]

Amidst the calls for a Dog's Purpose boycott, Josh Gad, who voices the dog in the film, also took to Twitter to voice his concerns, saying he is "shaken and sad."

"As the proud owner of a rescued dog and a fervent supporter of organizations like PETA, I have reached out to the production team and studio to ask for an explanation for these disturbing images."
The animal activity on set was monitored by the American Humane Association, who issued a statement following the release of the video, saying they are concerned.

"When the dog showed signs of resistance to jumping in the water, the scene should have been stopped.

"We are placing the safety representative who was on the set on administrative leave immediately and are bringing in an independent third party to conduct an investigation into this matter."

With talks of A Dog's Purpose boycott spreading all over social media, some animal lovers have already taken upon themselves to help with the boycott and have started lowering its rating on IMDb. At the moment, the movie's ranking stands at 1 star (out of 10), with more than 1,600 voters.

Given the fact that the movie will only be released next week and people haven't seen it yet, it's safe to assume the low star rating is a direct result of the calls for the Dog's Purpose boycott.

A dog's purpose trailer screenshot showing German shepherd rescuing woman in water
A scene from 'A Dog's Purpose' trailer. [Image by Universal Pictures]

Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures, A Dog's Purpose production company and its distributor, issued a statement on Wednesday, saying they will further review the footage. According to the producers, the dog, Hercules, has gone through several days of rehearsals to ensure he was comfortable during the water scenes.

"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."

As for Hercules, the producers say he is now "happy and healthy," but these statements were not enough to calm the angering animal lovers around the world, who are still calling for A Dog's Purpose boycott.

[Featured Image by Universal Pictures]