Media Releases

Dog Abused on Winnipeg Film Set, Animal Justice Files Animal Cruelty Complaint

WINNIPEG – National animal law organization Animal Justice filed animal cruelty complaints with authorities on Wednesday after disturbing video footage revealed animal abuse on the set of the film “A Dog’s Purpose.” The footage was apparently shot near Winnipeg, Manitoba in November of 2015.

The video, first revealed on the website TMZ, shows the filmmakers forcing a German Shepherd dog into turbulent water. The distressed dog fights to stay out of the water by repeatedly clawing at the edge of the pool. A subsequent shot shows the dog submerged under the water. A voice can be heard yelling, “Cut it”, and then handlers finally move to pull the dog out of the water. According to TMZ, at least one crew member was extremely disturbed by the dog’s treatment.

Animal Justice has filed complaints with the Winnipeg Humane Society, the Chief Veterinary Office of Manitoba, and the Winnipeg Police, alleging violations of federal and provincial animal protection laws.

“Throwing a terrified German Shepherd into rushing water is blatant animal cruelty,” said Camille Labchuk, a lawyer and executive director of Animal Justice. “It is illegal to inflict suffering and anxiety onto animals, and there is no loophole that lets Hollywood moviemakers get away with abusing animals on a film set. The filmmakers should face animal cruelty charges for their disturbing abuse of this German Shepherd.”

The use of animals in films is almost completely unregulated in Canada. There is no mandatory monitoring of animal use on film sets, leaving animals vulnerable to sickening abuse in the name of entertainment industry profits.

Forcing animals to perform in the entertainment industry is increasingly considered inhumane and unnecessary. Animal spectacles such as Ringling Bros. circus and the Bowmanville Zoo outside Toronto are shutting down for good, citing poor attendance. Animal Justice is calling on consumers to boycott “A Dog’s Purpose” and other films that still use real animals.


For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
[email protected]