PETA Responds to A Dog’s Purpose Producer’s Defense of the Film

For Immediate Release:
January 25, 2017

The disturbing footage from the set of A Dog’s Purpose came just days after PETA’s  investigation of Birds & Animals Unlimited—the company that supplied dogs for the film—revealed that dogs were kept in barren kennels and forced to sleep outside in the cold, animals were denied adequate food so that they would be hungry while being trained to do tricks, and other animals were denied adequate veterinary care and made to live in filthy conditions. Those who made the movie want it to succeed, but even the film’s producer, Gavin Polone, admitted that the incident should not have occurred, so for him to offer alternative facts about what countless people have now watched and condemned is a form of spin that even the best filmmaker couldn’t pull off.

It doesn’t matter whether there was a diver in the pool to rescue the dog when he went under. It’s irrelevant that he’s now reportedly safe. What matters is that, according even to Polone, this dog made his feelings known, loud and clear, about being forced into rushing water to produce a swimming scene and attempted to escape—yet into the water he was made to go. Perhaps it’s easy to dismiss being submerged underwater when you’re not the one desperate for air, but for the dog, it was undeniably a terrifying experience. Blaming the whistleblower who filmed the ugly incident is a cheap and cowardly response. TMZ did a public service by releasing the footage.

The fact that a producer like Polone—someone who genuinely cares about animals—failed to prevent cruel training techniques, failed to ensure that animals aren’t living in squalor, and failed to stop a dog from being terrorized during shooting exemplifies just how deeply entrenched the problems are in this business.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind