Over the last month, A Dog's Purpose has been receiving a lot of attention not so much for the movie itself, because because of an incident that happened during production. A video leaked to TMZ showed one of the movie's German Shepherds at surface-level appearing to be mistreated. There's been a lot of fallout in the weeks afterwards, but American Humane recently concluded that not only were no dogs harmed during the shooting of A Dog's Purpose, but that the video had been edited to make the situation look worse than it actually was. Nevertheless, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is putting up a reward for whomever responsible for the video.
Because PETA recently received a generous donation from a "dog-loving donor," the organization is offering $5,000 to the person who shot and leaked the video showing the German Shepherd incident on the A Dog's Purpose set more than a year ago. Their press release details how not only did the movie's producer acknowledge that the dog, named Hercules, shouldn't have been in that situation, but that he also came from Birds & Animals Unlimited, an animal supplier that's mistreated its critters by denying "adequate veterinary care and forced to sleep outdoors in the cold without bedding for warmth, among other things."
PETA also noted how American Humane, whose representative on the A Dog's Purpose set didn't stop the filming when the incident occurred, recently "defended the dog's treatment" and has also been taking heat lately for not addressing other animal concerns on major movie and TV productions in the past, like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and HBO's Luck. To the person who leaked the video, a.k.a. "the whistleblower," PETA assures they will be kept anonymous, and that person can contact the organization at 323-210-2233.
In case you've missed all the news about the controversy since it broke in mid-January, the leaked video showed Hercules the German Shepherd being afraid to go into a pool of water that was being artificially churned to resemble a dangerous river current. Eventually his handler grabbed him and lowered him into the water despite resistance. The video later cuts to what looks like the dog struggling in the water and several people rushing to help him. Since then, many folks involved with A Dog's Purpose have given their opinion on the matter, from producer Gavin Polone noting that although Hercules should have never been put in that position, the video was misleading, to Josh Gad, the voice of the movie's various dogs, saying how "shaken" he was watching the video. American Humane, while critical of the first part of the video, publicly stated that the video was likely intended to damage the movie as much as possible before its release. Not to be deterred from pursuing this further, now PETA wants to find the person who set all this into motion, so the A Dog's Purpose controversy saga isn't over yet.
A Dog's Purpose is currently showing in theaters and has taken in nearly $43 million worldwide, but has also earned mixed-to-negative reviews.