People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is reaching out to production crew, announcing that they are offering a $5,000 reward to the anonymous person – whom they call a whistleblower – who filmed the German shepherd being mishandled on the set of A Dog’s Purpose and then gave (or sold?) the footage to TMZ. PETA promises anonymity and is asking the person – whomever was on the Winnipeg set of the Amblin/Walden Media/Universal film and took the footage of the dog being forced into the water – to call their whistleblower hotline number. While PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – has had a reward fund for years, this particular reward comes “courtesy of a donor who was horrified by the behind-the-scenes footage and shocked by PETA’s video exposé of BAU (Bird & Animals Unlimited).”
The footage that aired on TMZ was apparently shot 14 months earlier in October of 2015 but only surfaced two weeks before the film was released wide into theaters. The film has grossed $34.7M through yesterday.
American Humane announced earlier that an independent, third-party investigation found that no animals were harmed on the set of A Dog’s Purpose and said that the video broadcast by TMZ showing a German Shepard being forced into the water and the later slipping under water “mischaracterized the events on the set.” They have not released the full video as yet to the public, but did acknowledge “that the handling of the dog in the first scene in the video should have been gentler and signs of stress recognized earlier.”
Here is PETA’s statement:
“Thanks to a dog-loving donor, PETA is offering a reward of $5,000 to the person who shot and leaked the now-infamous video footage of a terrified dog who was forced into churning water on the set of A Dog’s Purpose—an act that even the film’s producer admits never should have happened.
The footage led to the revelation that the dog came from Hollywood animal supplier Birds & Animals Unlimited (BAU), where a PETA video exposé revealed that animals were denied adequate veterinary care and forced to sleep outdoors in the cold without bedding for warmth, among other things.
Since then, American Humane, which was on set and whose representative did not stop the filming when the dog was struggling, has defended the dog’s treatment—but has found itself under fire for its failure to prevent and address dozens of deaths and injuries on the sets of films and television productions over the years, including The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and HBO’s Luck.”
“Thanks to this person who thought to capture the incident, the world caught a tiny glimpse of what animals endure simply to make a movie,” said PETA senior VP Lisa Lange. “Animal abusers rely on secrecy, and since the animals can’t rely on protection from filmmakers or on-set monitors who regard them as props, PETA hopes this reward will encourage anyone who witnesses on-set cruelty or neglect to come forward. The evidence will be gratefully received.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.