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L.A. Premiere Of 'A Dog's Purpose' Cancelled Following Allegations Of Animal Abuse

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The Los Angeles premiere of A Dog's Purpose has been cancelled after a video surfaced depicting the alleged abuse of a German Shepherd on set. A Dog's Purpose is the kind of film a masochist would watch if they wanted to cry a lot. Based on the 2010 novel by W. Bruce Cameron, the film is about a dog who is reincarnated several times over into many different dogs of various breeds. As such, it's a film where you watch a dog touch the lives of his humans and then die many times.

The film has been met with a considerable amount of controversy after a video surfaced via TMZ that shows a frightened German Shepherd being forced by a handler to jump into rushing waters. The film was slated to premiere in Los Angeles on Saturday, but producer Amblin Entertainment and distributor Universal Pictures have canceled both the L.A. premiere as well as the accompanying press junket, according to the Hollywood Reporter. In doing so, they issued the following statement.

Because Amblin's review into the edited video released yesterday is still ongoing, distributor Universal Pictures has decided it is in the best interest of A Dog's Purpose to cancel this weekend's premiere and press junket. Amblin and Universal do not want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between animals and humans. Since the emergence of the footage, Amblin has engaged with many associated with the production of the film, including safety personnel, trainers and stunt coordinators as part of their in-depth review. While we are all disheartened by the appearance of an animal in distress, everyone has assured us that Hercules the German Shepherd was not harmed throughout the filmmaking.

The American Humane Association, the organization responsible for ensuring proper treatment of animals on production sets, has since suspended the representative that worked on the film, CNN reports.
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TMZ reported that the scene involved eight motors that churned the water in a pool to create the appearance of a turbulent river. When the dog finally gets into the water, it soon disappears underneath and someone yells, "Cut it." Handlers then rush over to remove the dog from the water. TMZ reported that sources said director Lasse Hallström was present during the incident. Hallström, however, has since denied those claims.

Actor Josh Gad, who voices the dog in the film, was not on set for the filming of the scene, but expressed his concern in a Tweet.

While the film will not have its red carpet premiere in Los Angeles on Saturday, it is still scheduled to be released in theaters on January 27.