• Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
A Dog's Purpose

Amblin Entertainment/Universal Pictures

W. Bruce Cameron, author of the book that inspired the film A Dog's Purpose, is speaking out about a controversial video from the set showing alleged animal abuse.

The clip, which leaked online Wednesday, shows what appears to be a handler appearing to force a German Shepard named Hercules into a pool of rushing water.

"I found the video we've all seen to be shocking because when I was on set, the ethic of everyone was the safety and comfort of the dogs," Cameron said in a statement to E! News Friday. "If the people who shot and edited the video thought something was wrong, why did they wait 15 months to do anything about it, instead of immediately going to the authorities?"

"I have since viewed footage taken of the day in question, when I wasn't there, and it paints an entirely different picture," he continued. "The written commentary accompanying the edited video mischaracterizes what happened. The dog was not terrified and not thrown in the water—I've seen footage of Hercules earlier that day joyfully jumping in the pool. When he was asked to perform the stunt from the other side of the pool, which was not how he had been doing it all day, he balked. The mistake was trying to dip the dog in the water to show him it was okay—the water wasn't his issue, it was the location that was the issue, and the dog happily did the stunt when he was allowed to return to his original spot."

 "I also didn't like it when Hercules' head briefly went under water, but there was a scuba diver and a trainer in the pool to protect him," he wrote. "He loves the water, wasn't in danger, and wasn't upset."

After the video went viral, an on-set monitor with American Humane, a group that ensures the safety of animals used in film and TV productions and which awards its "No Animals Were Harmed" certification to films, was placed on leave after the disturbing video was leaked. The group also said it is "bringing in an independent third party to conduct an investigation into this matter."

"On a movie where the mantra was the safety and comfort of the dogs, mistakes were made, and everything needs to be done to make sure those errors are not repeated. But the reason American Humane certifies that no animals were harmed during the making of the film is that no animals were harmed during the making of the film," Cameron wrote. "I celebrate animal rescue and am proud of the values that show up in A Dog's Purpose."

The author had said on Facebook Wednesday that he was "disturbed" by the video footage.

"I have asked the studio for an explanation and have been assured they are reviewing every single frame of footage shot that day and interviewing the people who were there. (I wasn't.)," he said at the time.

A Dog's Purpose director Lasse Hallström, actors KJ Apa and Josh Gad, and producer Gavin Polone have previously spoken out about feeling "shaken and sad" over what transpired. Meanwhile, the red carpet premiere and press event for the movie was canceled.

A Dog's Purpose's production company, Amblin Entertainment, said its team "followed rigorous protocols to foster an ethical and safe environment for the animals" and that it would "continue to review the circumstances shown in the edited footage." Hercules, the group added, is "happy and healthy."