ENTERTAINMENT
02/04/2017 01:49 pm ET

No Animals Were Harmed On Set Of 'A Dog's Purpose,' According To Investigation

A group called American Humane says a leaked video was “deliberately edited for the purpose of misleading the public and stoking outrage."

American Humane, the group responsible for overseeing animal safety on film sets, has cleared the movie “A Dog’s Purpose” of allegations of animal cruelty.

Controversy erupted after a behind-the-scenes clip, which appeared to show a German Shepherd forced into rushing water, leaked in January. 

But the results of an independent third-party investigation indicate the video was manipulated and “mischaracterized the events on the set,” American Humane said Friday:

An independent, third-party investigation conducted by a respected animal cruelty expert into the treatment of animals in the filming of “A Dog’s Purpose” concluded that an edited video given to the gossip site TMZ mischaracterized the events on the set. The decisions by the individual or individuals who captured and deliberately edited the footage, and then waited longer than 15 months to release the manipulated video only days before the movie’s premiere, raise serious questions about their motives and ethics.

The video was “deliberately edited for the purpose of misleading the public and stoking outrage,” the company said, noting that the clip features two scenes that were filmed at different times. 

The findings are consistent with what the film’s animal trainers said all along. 

“Hercules, a two-year-old German Shepherd, had been in training for months to perform the swimming scenes for this film,” Birds and Animals Unlimited, the company that provided the trainers for the movie, told The Huffington Post in January. “He was chosen for the film based on his love of the water.” 

Despite the controversy (and some poor reviews) the film still managed to debut at No. 2 at the box office with $18.4 million in its opening weekend.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST

Shelter Dogs Get Swimming Lessons

CONVERSATIONS