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Massive Fine & Jail Time Possible for Crew of ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ Film

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Canada’s Chief Veterinary Office (CVO) is investigating circumstances around leaked video footage of alleged animal cruelty on the set of the A Dog’s Purpose movie shot in Winnipeg last December.

Video of Hercules, a German Shepherd appearing to be forced against his will into rushing waters for a scene in the film was leaked by TMZ this week after the animal rights advocate Animal Justice filed a cruelty complaint with the Winnipeg Humane Society, the provincial CVO and Winnipeg police “alleging violations of federal and provincial animal protection laws.”

A Chief Veterinary Office spokesperson said the department is “assigning an animal protection officer to evaluate the matter.” If any wrongdoing is found, the office could charge film crew with fines up to $10,000 and up to 6 months in jail.

Winnepeg Humane Society CEO Javier Schwersensky said in a statement, “this dog was fearful and not properly trained for this experience. As well, there was no safe exit point for the dog to escape the turbulent water.

“Training for a scene like this should take place weeks – if not months – in advance to help a dog get comfortable with not only being in water of that depth, but also the turbulence. It also helps to ensure the dog will not suffer consequences from such a traumatic experience,” he continued.

In the video below, obtained and released by TMZ, Hercules appears to be fearful, desperately resisting shooting a scene inside a pool of churning water and rapids. The video footage shows a dog handler appearing to force the animal into rushing water, despite the dog’s desperate attempts to remain on dry land.

The American Humane Association, whose Humane Hollywood initiative places a safety representative on set to ensure that “No Animals Were Harmed” during filming, has launched a separate investigation and has suspended a safety representative who worked on the film.

Both Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures are reviewing the footage, but assert that great care was taken to ensure Hercules’ safety.

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  1. It’s animal neglect . Forcing him in the water the way was can be very traumatizing . They obviously did not train him nor care

  2. Avatar Of Chery Esau, R.n.

    Chery Esau, R.N.


    The safety rep. also needs to go to jail. They were there for a specific purpose they did not fulfil! This is not a small deal. This poor soul will have PTSD for the rest of his days. This could have been a ground breaking, mind changing film. Instead it was sabataged (sp) by people who had no feelings or empathy for Hercules. I am HORRIFIED and OUTRAGED by the lack of concern and carelessness about his life!!!!!!1 Every life matters!!!!!

  3. Avatar Of Patricia




  4. Avatar Of Janelle



    It doesn’t look like great care was taken at all. Are the film companies doing this because they got caught! What else have they done tgat we haven’t seen. Clearly the dog was smarter than the film crew and that sub human trainer. Appalling to do this to an animal!

  5. This footage is appalling. I didn’t want to believe this accusation, because I’ve waited fir this movie to come out with high hopes. I don’t want to jump to conclusions, and look forward to hearing both sides, although the leaked footage is very incriminating. I hope I don’t need to boycott this movie, but i will if need be, because animal rights must be protected.

  6. Avatar Of Melissa Finn

    Melissa Finn


    What I have heard is that the dog had done this quite a number of times, and on this particular day he did not want to get in the water. People have argued with me, stating that putting the dogs feet in first to test the water, and then again dunking half his body wasn’t “forcing” him in. The friend states that in order for this dog to get used to the water, and “not use his fear as a way to get out of working, since he’s done this so many times”… the dog should have just been thrown in the water regardless. It was clear to me that despite his “extensive” training, on this day he was terrified…. and consequently I think that’s why he went under water for a number of seconds. He was not relaxed. She further excuses her opinion by stating that “the dog did this again later in the day without incident, so he’s clearly not scarred from his experience”.

    • Avatar Of Della Williamson

      Della Williamson


      IF the dog had actually undergone “extensive training” as they claim. This would not have happened. Period. As a life long dog owner I am certain about that. But others have weighed in. One experienced dog trainer said, “The article says they did rehearsals for number of days and I can tell you that is absolutely not true. That dog did not like water and that was his first time being exposed and did not like it and never will. That dog will never, ever get anywhere near water for the rest of his life as he was traumatized by the experience. And I’m not one of these do gooders that yell and scream animal abuse every time a dog is put in an uncomfortable situation as German shepherds have extreme tolerance to pain, but this was ruining a perfectly good dog. Many others have made similar statements. Winnepeg Humane Society CEO Javier Schwersensky said in a statement, “this dog was fearful and not properly trained for this experience. As well, there was no safe exit point for the dog to escape the turbulent water.” If your ‘friend’ thinks throwing an animal in the water is okay. She needs her head, and her heart examined. There are dog trainers who say what happened here is wrong. There are a couple who step-by-step. Explained away what was going on here and stressed that there was no abuse, or cruelty. But then. He and his ilk are of the cesar millan mindset. Nothing wrong with prong or shock collars. Most say those are damaging and cruel. And they are. Such methods are called breaking a dogs spirit and that IS animal cruelty, I don’t care how you want to break it down this act was cruelty. But those who use them say, not if used properly. dominance is the name of the game. They want results fast, they don’t want to have to take the time to do it right. And farther on down the road almost 60% of these dogs get tired of the fear, the pain, and fight back, become aggressive and that has been so with millan trained dogs. A couple have claimed the film was edited for shock value as publicity. If so. It was the wrong way to do it. Because the dog is clearly not happy with the situation. And. An excuse is what you give when you have no honest reason for something. At least she was right about why the dog went under. Although they are naturally strong swimmers, dogs can still drown. They may panic in a strong current or become exhausted if trapped in water, particularly in swimming pools or ice-holes.

    • Avatar Of Janelle



      That’s a bunch of crap and I’m sure not true. The video clearly shows that the animal is upset and doesn’t want to get into the water. This should have been the end to it. I don’t give a rats ass if he was in there a hundred times before. The video is the one we see and are appalled.

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