Producer Gavin Polone wrote a lengthy essay for The Hollywood Reporter stating the video is “inexcusable,” but also “highly misleading.” Polone says the full footage of the day shows the dog was never forced to do anything he was uncomfortable doing.
“Like you, I’m sure, I was appalled when I saw the video, shot on the set of A Dog’s Purpose in Winnipeg in October 2015, of a dog trainer trying to coerce a frightened German [Shepherd] into a pool,” Polone begins.
Polone is a vegan and claims he is a self-professed animal lover that does what he can to support animal causes.
“Love of animals defines my existence, and that love is what drove me to struggle for years to get Bruce Cameron’s brilliant and widely cherished novel about the bond between a person and a dog made into a movie,” Polone writes of the movie’s source material. “So now, the idea that I’m connected to an accusation of the abuse of a dog is, to understate it, painful.”
Polone addressed the incident when the trainer held the German Shepherd near the edge of the pool and later when the dog went underwater for a few seconds. “These two things are absolutely INEXCUSABLE and should NEVER have happened,” Polone states.
Polone insists there is more to the story than just the video. The dog appeared to be happy doing the stunt until filmmakers decided to move the dog from the left side of the pool to the right side. This move seemed to spook the dog and make him uncomfortable. The producer states, “the dog was NEVER forced into the water.”
He claims that the video’s “edited version gives the impression that the dog was thrown in and eventually drowned, since the two parts seem to be connected. You never see him pulled out and OK. This is highly misleading.”
He ended the essay by slamming PETA and blames the organization for “fomenting negative publicity around these events with great energy.”
“Lastly, I hope you’ll think about PETA and its actions in all of this. Not only have they been circulating the TMZ video, which portrays an inaccurate picture of what happened, but they have included a clip from our trailer where you see the dog jumping into a treacherous rushing wall of water. But THAT ISN’T A REAL DOG, it is a computer-generated dog leaping into the water,” Polone clarifies.
He fears that if studios stop backing films like A Dog’s Purpose, children will no longer understand that “animals are deserving of love and protection” and it will have a “negative effect on animal welfare in the future.”
Universal Cancels 'A Dog's Purpose' Premiere After Video Surfaces of Mistreatment of a German Shepard
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