The release of A Dog's Purpose has been marred by controversy ever since a video was released showing what seemed to be a dog in distress during filming. Now, American Humane has released a statement, freeing the film of the accusations that the dog was harmed. According to their investigation, they concluded the following:
The findings of the independent investigation confirm that no animals were harmed in those scenes and numerous preventative safety measures were in place.
The investigation and eyewitness reports have brought to light the following facts:
-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.
They also stated that while the dog was stressed, that he "quickly and willingly went into the water and performed the scene soon afterwards, a separate, independent, board certified Veterinary Behaviorist brought in to examine the events concluded that there was ‘no lasting stress response or conditioned fear of the water as a result.'"
Dr. Kwane Stewart, who heads American Humane's "No Animals Were Harmed" program, said, "American Humane is at the forefront of combatting cruelty to animals through our rescue efforts, support of anti-cruelty raids, and work to improve conditions for animals around the world. 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."