The American Humane Association, the organisation which supervised animals on the film's set, issued a report concluding that no animals were harmed during the making of A Dog's goal, following a third-party investigation by a respected animal cruelty expert. According to Ganzert, the video was edited to suggest that the dog was forced into the water, despite that not being the case.
The report's findings confirmed "that no animals were harmed in those scenes and numerous preventative safety measures were in place".
"A Dog's Purpose" earned $18.4 million in its opening weekend, despite backlash stemming from the video.
American Humane claims the investigation, along with eyewitness reports, concluded the video was edited "for the goal of misleading the public and stoking outrage" and the footage was pieced together from two scenes filmed at different times.
Release of the controversial video days before the film debuted prompted outrage, threatened boycotts, and ultimately led to the cancellation of the movie's press junket and red carpet premiere.
"That being said, it is important to note that this was recognized and the scene did not proceed as insinuated by the misleadingly edited video", the organization wrote.
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Despite the controversy and widespread protests organised by PETA, "A Dog's Purpose" has proved a reasonable box office success since its U.S. release last week, already earning $24.9 million in the USA alone off a $22 million budget. But producer Amblin Entertainment and distributor Universal Pictures stuck to plans to release the PG-rated film a week ago in more than 3,000 North American theaters.
It says the dog was not forced to swim in the water at any time.
"During the last scene, handlers immediately assisted the dog out of the water, at which point he was placed in a warming tent and received an examination that found no signs of stress. It is a film".
"We are the first to address and fight cruelty and abuse, and no such things happened on the set of a A Dog's Purpose", Kwane Stewart, the veterinarian who heads AHA's "No Animals Were Harmed" program, said in a statement.
The investigator also found that not only was one of the AHA's certified animal safety representatives on set, but that there were five other experts on hand to "supervise and safeguard the dog".