‘A Dog’s Purpose’ Writer Says ‘No Animals Were Harmed’ in Making of Film

The film’s premiere was canceled after TMZ obtained a video that appeared to show a dog being pushed in water against its will

Last Updated: January 21, 2017 @ 11:08 AM

W. Bruce Cameron, who wrote the book “A Dog’s Purpose” and is the co-screenwriter of the upcoming movie adaptation, released a statement Friday defending the film crew’s practices after a video surfaced earlier this week showing a dog apparently forced into a pool of rushing water.

The video was published by TMZ Wednesday, which called the dog, a German Shepherd named Hercules, “terrified” and said “the animal wanted NO part of” being pushed in the water. However, according to Cameron, that brief clip and commentary doesn’t accurately reflect what happened on set that day.

“The written commentary accompanying the edited video mischaracterizes what happened,” Cameron said in a statement obtained by TheWrap. “The dog was not terrified and not thrown in the water — I’ve seen footage of Hercules earlier that day joyfully jumping in the pool. When he was asked to perform the stunt from the other side of the pool, which was not how he had been doing it all day, he balked. The mistake was trying to dip the dog in the water to show him it was okay — the water wasn’t his issue, it was the location that was the issue, and the dog happily did the stunt when he was allowed to return to his original spot.”

PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange issued a statement in response to Cameron’s assertions:

“It takes a cold heart not to find this footage disturbing, so PETA asks whether A Dog’s Purpose was written from the heart or just to make a buck. Whistleblowers invariably fear for their jobs, but this footage was bravely made public after PETA exposed cruelty to animals at the film’s reported dog supplier. If additional footage exists, it should be made public, but it won’t change the footage of a terrified dog forced into churning water any more than nanny cam footage of a bedtime story changes footage of a caregiver hitting a child.”

The film from Universal and Amblin, which stars Britt Robertson, Dennis Quaid, K. J. Apa, Josh Gad, Peggy Lipton and Juliet Rylance, is set to hit theaters Jan. 27. Universal and Amblin canceled the film’s Saturday premiere after PETA called for a boycott of “A Dog’s Purpose.”