WINNIPEG, Canada – Animal lovers are calling for a boycott of “A Dog’s Purpose” Wednesday, Jan. 18, after TMZ published disturbing video the site says was taken on the set.
The video was recorded in 2015 at a set outside Winnipeg, Canada, according to TMZ. The footage shows the dog struggling to stay out of the swirling, frothy water as a trainer forces it in.
Sources told TMZ that eight outboard motors were used to create the churning water.
Another man, who doesn’t appear on camera, can be heard saying, “He ain’t gonna calm down until he goes in the water … you just gotta throw him in.”
The second scene shows the dog struggling to keep its head up as the swirling water carries it across the pool. The German shepherd finally slips under the surface after running into the wall of the pool, and someone off camera can be heard yelling, “Cut it,” as trainers rush over.
It’s unclear whether or not the final scene was scripted, but TMZ reports that director Lasse Hallström was on set at the time, and at least one crew member was “extremely disturbed” after seeing what happened to the German shepherd.
Universal Pictures and entertainment company Amblin told TMZ they would investigate, and issued this statement:
“Fostering a safe environment and ensuring the ethical treatment of our animal actors was of the utmost importance to those involved in making this film.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are calling for a boycott of the movie, saying in a tweet that they want to “send the message that dogs & other animals should be treated humanely, not as props.”
A spokesman for American Humane said Wednesday that it has suspended its safety representative who worked on that film and is hiring an independent investigator to explore the matter, reports the Associated Press.
“A Dog’s Purpose,” which stars Dennis Quaid, Britt Robertson and Josh Grad, is scheduled to be released into theaters January 27, 2017.