Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival
Dennis Quaid maintains that no dogs were injured on the set of A Dog's Purpose.
The actor appeared on the Today show Wednesday morning ahead of the film's release Friday and addressed the controversy surrounding the film with Matt Lauer.
"Absolutely no dogs were harmed in this," Quaid said. "This was a piece of video that was shot during the making of this by some unknown person at the time."
Quaid also said that the video was altered to make it appear more dramatic. "He also spliced, edited and manipulated that to make it look as if a dog was being abused," Quaid said. "The dog had been in that water happily and afterwards, too, and the dog was fine."
Lauer asked Quaid if he felt any mistakes had been made on the film's set, and Quaid said filming went off without a hitch. "Not that I can see," Quaid said. "What is not shown are divers underneath the water for the dog. Every precaution was taken. Platforms underneath the water that the dog was standing on. Not dangling in the water.
"The dog was great," he added. "He wanted to do it again."
Footage released by TMZ showed the dog in question looking fearful as a trainer tried to force him into the water, but Quaid said the situation was the opposite.
"The dog is actually straining in the leash to get in the water because he loves it so much and to get his toy," Quaid shared before slamming the unnamed person who shot the footage.
Amblin Entertainment/Universal Pictures
"This person held onto this piece of video," the 62-year-old star said. "If he's such a dog lover concerned about animal rights he held onto it for 15 months until he could get his best price from TMZ."
Quaid's interview with Lauer comes two days after A Dog's Purpose producer Gavin Polone penned an op-ed in The Hollywood Reporter about the scandal. He acknowledged the "inexcusable" moments in which the dog appeared to be suffering but also called out the American Humane Association representative on set at the time, PETA and the person who shot the footage.
"The American Humane Association (AHA) representative who is paid by the production to 'ensure the safety and humane treatment of animal actors, as its website states, should have also intervened immediately on both of those parts of the filming. So should have whomever was running the set. Those individuals should be held accountable and never used again by that studio or its affiliates," Polone wrote.
Both the premiere and press junket were canceled following the controversy, but it's still slated to be released Friday.
"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," Universal Pictures said in a statement to E! News. "We continue to support this film, are incredibly proud of it and will release it for audiences nationwide [on Friday]."
(E!, NBC and Universal Pictures are all part of the NBCUniversal family.)