The American Humane Association has launched an investigation and PETA is calling for a boycott over disturbing footage of a dog on the set of A Dog's Purpose. In a video released by TMZ, an apparently terrified German shepherd struggles as a handler forces it into churning water, the AP reports. The dog is then seen submerged as people rush toward him. The AHA, which monitors the treatment of animals on film sets, says it has suspended the representative who worked on the movie. The association is "disturbed and concerned by the footage," the group said in a statement to USA Today. "When the dog showed signs of resistance to jumping in the water, the scene should have been stopped."
In a statement, actor Josh Gad, who provided the dog's voice, said the movie is "one of the most beautiful love letters to animals I have ever seen," but he found the video disturbing and he has asked the studio for an explanation. "I am shaken and sad to see any animal put in a situation against its will," he said. Director Lasse Hallstrom tweeted that he was also disturbed by the footage and has been told that wrongdoing will be punished. The movie is scheduled to be released by Universal Pictures on Jan. 27. Entertainment Weekly reports that the studio released a statement Wednesday evening saying Hercules, the dog in the video, didn't want to perform the stunt that day, but "great care and concern" was shown for him. The studio says it's reviewing the footage. (Read more A Dog's Purpose stories.)