‘A Dog’s Purpose’ Trainers Claim Controversial Video Was Falsely Edited’
The trainers of the German shepherd at the center of a controversial video shot on the set of movie A Dog’s Purpose have claimed the footage has been “falsely edited.”
Video footage of a trainer forcing the dog, named Hercules, into a pool of rushing water surfaced last week, prompting officials at animal rights group PETA to call for a boycott of the film, which stars Dennis Quaid and Josh Gad.
Movie bosses launched an investigation into animal treatment on set before canceling the movie’s premiere at the weekend.
Now Birds & Animals Unlimited, who were responsible for training Hercules for the film, have penned a letter to TMZ, insisting the video is entirely inaccurate.
“Last week a falsely edited video was released to the media,” the letter began. “It portrayed a dog being forced to enter a pool against its will and suggested that the dog was traumatized as a result. No such thing occurred, nor would it ever occur under the supervision of our animal trainers.”
The letter then continued to deny allegations that Hercules was put in the water against his will, adding: “He was chosen for the film based on his love of the water.”
It was when movie bosses requested Hercules enter the water from a different location that the canine became resistant, but “after less that one minute of Hercules insisting on getting back to his original starting point, this plan was abandoned and he was brought to the end of the pool from which he’d been conditioned to enter, and he did so happily.”
At one point in the original video, a voice can be heard saying “Just gotta throw him in” — contributing to the concern over Hercules’ welfare on the set of the film.
However, the trainers insist that while they can’t identify who said that, “it was not anyone with any authority over Hercules’ welfare as some of the news coverage implied.”
The letter continued to detail another shot in the video, which showed Hercules submerged under the water, insisting the current took him closer to the wall than it had in previous takes, and he was briefly underwater, but was pushed to the surface by the diver in the pool and the trainer.
“During the filming, an American Humane Representative was present at all times, approving and documenting every shot. Whenever Hercules was in the water there were two trainers poolside, one trainer in the water, a safety diver, as well as stunt personnel,” the letter added.
The organization concluded their letter by writing: “Birds and Animals Unlimited is currently reviewing available footage of these scenes and is evaluating its legal options. In the meantime, we strongly encourage the news media that receive such disturbing, defamatory and maliciously edited videotapes to exercise caution in their broadcast and characterization.”