A Dog’s Purpose is not a Human’s Gain I don’t care who you are. When you see an animal featured in a movie you instantly wonder if anything bad will happen to them. In the new movie “A Dog’s Purpose” it is very clear that we will witness a child having to say goodbye to a childhood pet. Even though we know the dog comes back and we know that he finds his owner again later in his life, we know we will cry. But in the end credits we know, or rather expect, to be reassured that “no animals were harmed in the making of this movie.” Unfortunately, “A Dog’s Purpose” will not be able to make this statement without lying to the public. In the movie, there is a scene where a German Sheppard is stuck in literal rough waters. We would expect that in this generation of CGI and superhero movies that this scene could be and would be done with such technology. But in a video obtained by TMZ we see that a real German Sheppard was subject to disgusting acts of cruelty. A member of the crew is seen trying to push the dog into deep, rushing water. The dog is obviously struggling against the handler but eventually falls several feet into the pool and under the surface multiple times. In response to the video, the movie’s producer Gavin Polone released statements including the following: “Not once did I perceive any animal caused any discomfort or put in danger… Seeing that distraught dog in the video did not comport with what I had observed in the prior weeks of production.” While Polone admits that he wasn’t on the set the day the scene in question was shot, he does report that he was on the set more than seventy percent of the time. When Polone finally did report to the film studio to see the scene for himself he said, “…two things were evident: 1) the dog handler tries to force the dog, for 35 to 40 seconds, into the water when, clearly, he didn’t want to go in; and 2) in a separate take filmed sometime later, the dog did go into the water, on his own, and, at the end, his head is submerged for about four second. These two things are absolutely inexcusable and should never have happened.” In other statements from Polone he defends the trainer stating that earlier rehearsals showed the dog “eager” to jump in the pool and had to in fact “be held back by the trainer from going in too soon.” The producer also says that a safety diver and a trainer where in the pool to protect the dogs from harm or problems, accompanied by two trainers, stunt coordinators and safety officers. There were also, supposedly, safety platforms submerged in the water for the dog to stand on. Polone fires back at the TMZ video claiming it doesn’t show the whole story and that the dog is lifted out of the pool seconds after he goes under, which he again states, “never should have happened.” He also defends the crew by saying, “They only did one take of the full scene and then ended for the day. TMZ’s edited version intentionally gives the impression that the dog was thrown in and eventually drowned… You never see him pulled out and OK.” He says that images of the dog in the film are partially CGI. He accuses the owner of the video of waiting for the movie to release before selling it to TMZ for a larger sum of money. He holds on to the claim that the video “portrays an inaccurate picture of what happened” after PETA has grabbed hold of the situation and started boycotts of the movie. The movie’s star, Dennis Quaid has since released multiple statements about the video telling Entertainment Tonight “It makes me angry. I never saw any abuse of animals. If I did, I would have walked.” He continued to express his outrage on The Ellen DeGeneres show saying, “I would not be on a set that had any kind of abuse towards animals – any animals - or people… I don’t think this video tells the whole story.” The movie was filmed back in 2015 and DeGeneres also questioned why someone waited this long to let this video come to the surface. She responded to Quaid by saying “If you care about a dog, the next day that video should have been released.” As of now this is the only video that has been released from the set of this movie. But this cannot be the first time that it has gone unreported. Animal abuse is often pushed to the side. When upsetting commercials come on TV we decide that it might be a good time for a snack or to check the weather; anything to pretend that the gruesome acts of violence against animals are not happening. But they are. Organizations like the ASPCA choose these types of images to pull on heartstrings and for the shock factor. Similar campaigns have cropped up in different industries such as the tobacco industry. Some companies have started to put warning labels and even graphic images on their cigarette cartons of cancer patients and people who have suffered the effects of smoking. The “wow factor” in this case is more to shock and scare. But doing the research and learning the facts can surprise and alarm you even more. More than 70% of animal abuse cases involve dogs and more than 20% of cases involve cats. Over 24% are cases involving other animals per the Humane Society. That’s only part of the more than 1,400 cases reported as of 2011; most go undocumented. As of March 2014, animal cruelty laws now include felony provisions in all 50 states.
Dogs are not the only animals suffering either. Wild animals are hunted and often killed for their “luxurious” furs.” Farm animals are subjected to disgusting living conditions and Ringling Brothers have shut down their show after forty years due to low ticket sales when we all know of the scrutiny they have faced about the treatment of their animals.