The filmmakers behind A Dog’s Purpose have come under fire after a video surfaced showing a trainer apparently forcing one of the film’s animals into turbulent waters.
In the video obtained by TMZ, a German Shepherd is seen clawing at a pool’s edge and trying to run away as a trainer attempts to force the dog into the rushing water. The site reports that the scene was shot for the movie in Winnipeg, Canada, in November 2015.
Off-camera, someone can be heard laughing at the dog’s resistance. “You just got to throw him in,” the person says.
The dog eventually got in the water, but almost immediately became submerged. While it’s unclear if that was part of the film, someone off camera begins yelling “Cut it!” as crew members race toward the animal.
The German Shepherd was one of at least five dogs used in the production, according to TMZ.
In a statement to TMZ, Amblin Partners and Universal Pictures said, “Fostering a safe environment and ensuring the ethical treatment of our animal actors was of the utmost importance to those involved in making this film and we will look into the circumstances surrounding this video.”
PETA has condemned the video, saying in a statement: “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.”
Based on the book by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose, out Jan. 27, tells the soulful story of one dog’s journey to find the meaning of his own life through the lives of the humans he touches along the way.