‘A Dog’s Purpose': American Humane Concludes No Animals Were Harmed on Set

“Edited video given to the gossip site TMZ mischaracterized the events on the set,” AH says of an independent investigative report

Last Updated: February 4, 2017 @ 1:33 PM

The third-party investigation into the treatment of animals on the set of “A Dog’s Purpose” has found no evidence of mistreatment or abuse, American Humane announced on Friday.

“An independent, third-party investigation conducted by a respected animal cruelty expert into the treatment of animals in the filming of ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ concluded that an edited video given to the gossip site TMZ mischaracterized the events on the set,” the organization.

American Humane also called into question TMZ’s source, saying, “The decisions by the individual or individuals who captured and deliberately edited the footage, and then waited longer than 15 months to release the manipulated video only days before the movie’s premiere, raise serious questions about their motives and ethics.”

The statement went on to read, “The findings of the independent investigation confirm that no animals were harmed in those scenes and numerous preventative safety measures were in place.”

“It is disappointing that the public was misled by a manufactured controversy promoted by a radical organization like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals with a mission to remove animals from films and other parts of our lives,” said Dr. Kwane Stewart, the veterinarian who heads American Humane’s “No Animals Were Harmed” program. “We are the first to address and fight cruelty and abuse, and no such things happened on the set of ‘A Dog Purpose.'”

The producers and film crew of “A Dog’s Purpose” came under fire last month after a video was published by TMZ apparently showing a dog apparently forced into a pool of rushing water.

American Humane called the video “misleadingly edited,” and said that following review of additional footage and an evaluation by a “veterinary behaviorist,” the investigation found no evidence of abuse.

Read American Humane’s complete list of findings below:

  • The video was deliberately edited for the purpose of misleading the public and stoking outrage. In fact, the two scenes shown in the edited video were filmed at different times.
  • The first video scene was stopped after the dog showed signs of stress. The dog was not forced to swim in the water at any time.
  • A full spectrum of preparation and safety measures were in place, including the following:
    • Prior to shooting the scene, safety meetings were held to go over and reinforce safety precautions and protocols.
    • 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.
    • In addition to one of American Humane’s Certified Animal Safety Representatives, five experts–including safety specialists and animal handlers–were present to supervise and safeguard the dog throughout the water scene.
    • During the last scene, handlers immediately assisted the dog out of the water, at which point he was placed in a warming tent and received an examination that found no signs of stress. Eyewitnesses report that the dog wanted to go back in the water. Still, out of an abundance of caution, American Humane stopped filming of any more scenes with the dog.
  • A veterinary checkup was performed last week at the request of American Humane, which confirmed that the dog is healthy.