[By Julia Main]

Controversy surrounding a leaked video from the filming of A Dog’s Purpose has cast a shadow on the movie’s upcoming release. Footage shows a German Shepherd being forced into rough water and even being completely submerged for a short period of time.

Those involved with the movie were quick to deny allegations of animal abuse. Dennis Quaid, the film’s lead actor, said “the video does not tell the entire story,” and that the animals on set “were treated with the greatest respect and care and compassion.” Producer Amblin Entertainment and distributor Universal Pictures also released a statement, maintaining that the production team, “followed rigorous protocols to foster an ethical and safe environment for the animals.”

Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane, has also spoken out in defense of the movie. Ganzert assures the public that an American Humane Certified Animal Representative was on site at all times during filming and that their investigation has confirmed appropriate safety measures were in place to protect the dog.  She claims that the video footage has been edited in a misleading manner and that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has sensationalized this story to further its radical agenda.

Regardless of whether the footage is real or manipulated, the viral clip has already had a significant impact on public perception of the film. Many have threatened to boycott the movie and PETA has promised to protest at screenings of A Dog’s Purpose. Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures have even gone as far as cancelling the Los Angeles premiere event to avoid backlash.

In the world of public relations, public perception is everything. Time will tell what kind of impact this controversy will have on the box office success of A Dog’s Purpose.

(Photo by skeeze via Pixabay)