A Dog's Purpose Movie Under Fire January 19 2017
Earlier this month I was invited to and attended, a private screening of A Dog's Purpose. It was a real tear jerker. But now I'm crying tears, not for the sappy-heart-tugging storyline but for the poor dog seen in this out-take footage being seemingly forced into the water against what appears to be his extreme will. (Warning, the footage is difficult to watch.) The dog is seen quite terrified of the rapids and does everything but bite his handler to stop him from forcing her into the water. After someone yells "just throw him in" he is seen struggling in and going under the water while the director yells "cut it" several times and the dog needs rescuing from the rapids.
This happened despite a Humane Society safety representative being onsite and whose job is to protect the dog against exactly just this type of thing. The safety representative has reportedly been suspended while an investigation is launched.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was given information that Animals Unlimited, or BAU, provided dogs used in the film and are now calling for a boycott of the film. PETA previously published an expose on BAU and the unsanitary conditions and lack of proper care they provided to their animals.
What most of my colleagues and fellow animal lovers have all wondered is why they would force a dog to do something clearly against their will in lieu of a dog who is an extreme water lover and may even be comfortable with rapids, like a trained search and rescue type dog is.
The tagline for the movie is "Every dog happens for a reason". I cannot believe this poor dog happened on this earth to be forced in and ultimately going under the water, for the sake of a movie. I will not accept that. This dog deserved better. Much, much better. As they all do.
What do you think? Should animals be used in movies? Can they be used safely when shooting scenes they resist for any reason but may be rushed, perhaps due to schedules or monetary concerns?
Would you prefer no animals were used in movies to eliminate the possibility of something like this happening again? Will you be seeing this movie?
Tell us what you think in the comments.
[Pretty puppy photos were intentionally omitted from this blog as they would just take away from the seriousness of the topic.]