Dogs In Film & TV

Terrified German Shepherd Forced to Perform in Scary ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ Movie Scene

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Footage of a scene shot in November of 2015 for the upcoming film, A Dog’s Purpose, has dog lovers outraged and concerned for the dog’s safety.

In the video, obtained and released by TMZ,  one of the film’s several animal actors, Hercules, a German Shepherd 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 dog was eventually dropped into the water where he almost immediately submerged. It is unclear if the dog was trained to go under water rather than tread on top, but someone in the background of the video yelled, “Cut it!” … and handlers rushed to pull the dog from the water.

TMZ reports that director Lasse Hallström was present during the incident, and that at least one member of the crew was extremely disturbed by the dog’s treatment during this scene.

TMZ reached out to both Amblin Partners and Universal Pictures who said, “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 and we will look into the circumstances surrounding this video.” Producers from Amblin explained that the dog had “several days of rehearsal of the water scenes to ensure (he) was comfortable with all of the stunts.”

“On the day of the shoot, Hercules did not want to perform the stunt portrayed on the tape so the Amblin production team did not proceed with filming that shot.”

The American Humane Association, whose Humane Hollywood initiative places a safety representative on set to ensure that “No Animals Were Harmed” during filming, told the celebrity gossip site that the representative who was on set that day had been suspended after officials saw the video.

“We are placing the safety representative who was on the set on administrative leave immediately and are bringing in an independent third party to conduct an investigation into this matter,” the organization told TMZ.

Producers report that Hercules is fine.

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  1. Avatar Of Kathleen Nall

    Kathleen Nall


    I have read A Dog’s Purpose and looked forward to seeing the movie. This incident, however, has given me reason to pause. First, I will be watching to see who takes responsibility for the fear this dog had to endure. I will be watching Peta’s take on the incident. The film company is responsible for the humane treatment of any animal. Based on what comes out, I will decide if I will go to or rent the movie. And any further movie the film company will produce. If voting with your money helps in any way to erradicate animal cruelty, so be it.

  2. Avatar Of Terrri Jardine

    Terrri Jardine


    This is bull shit!! I considered seeing this movie. I may reconsider

  3. Avatar Of Della Williamson

    Della Williamson


    They said the scene had been rehearsed to make sure the dog was comfortable with the stunt. And that on the day of the shoot he was just being stubborn and didn’t what to do the stunt. My question is: Really? Since when? When they were shooting a scene for Lassie a few decades ago. The dog playing Lassie acted as this dog did. Did they laugh and force the dog into the water? NO! They got Lassie’s brother to do the water scene. This crew obviously has no respect for others. They treat an animal this way. They would bully a person.

  4. Avatar Of L



    That poor dog. What is wrong with people doing something like this to a frightened animal and laughing while they are doing it. Someone should do this to them.

  5. Avatar Of D. Pearson D. Pearson says:

    To scare an animal, human or anything else is abuse, sometimes of the worst kind!

  6. Avatar Of Eileen Carter

    eileen carter


    What a disgusting way to treat a terrified animal. And the dopey men were laughing. I would have loved to see the handler fall in. This is disgraceful and should have the utmost publicity.Where the hell was the dogs owner, or was the money he made out of it worth more than his dog.

  7. Avatar Of Eleanor Higginbotham

    Eleanor Higginbotham


    I have a German Shepherd. One does not force one to do anything. The animal was clearly distressed and forced to do something convenient for the entertainment industry. I will not be seeing the movie with my family.

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