The American Humane Society (AHS) has determined that a viral video that appeared to show animal abuse on the set of “A Dog’s Purpose” “mischaracterized” events on the set of the film.
In a press release, AHS said an investigation by an independent third-party revealed that the video — originally released by TMZ — had been to make it seem as if a dog had been pushed into rushing water against its will. It also revealed that the two scenes in the video had been shot at different times.
In addition, the dog was immediately assisted out of the water following the incident, and received an examination shortly after. The dog showed no signs of stress at the time.
The investigation also revealed that the dog in question had been selected for its love of swimming, and that it had gone through a six-week conditioning course.
“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 press release read.
The AHS also stated that the organization felt that handlers could have been gentler with the dog in the video, but also stated that unreleased footage showed the dog eager to jump into the water after the incident.
“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. We are the first to address and fight cruelty and abuse, and no such things happened on the set of ‘A Dog Purpose,’” said Dr. Kwane Stewart, the veterinarian who heads American Humane’s “No Animals Were Harmed” program.
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.