The premiere of a film meant to celebrate mankind's connection with canines has been canceled after allegations of on-set animal cruelty.
Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment have canceled the L.A. premier of A Dog's Purpose after a video posted on TMZ purported to show an animal trainer forcing a terrified German shepherd, named Hercules, into a pool of churning water on the film's set.
As the video went viral, PETA called for a boycott of the film while calling on director Lasse Hallstrom and producer Gavin Polone to stop using animals in all future films.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment wrote:
"Because Amblin's review into the edited video released yesterday is still ongoing, distributor Universal Pictures has decided it is in the best interest of A Dog's Purpose to cancel this weekend's premiere and press junket. Amblin and Universal do not want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between humans and animals.
"Since the emergence of the footage, Amblin has engaged with many associated with the production of the film, including safety personnel, trainers and stunt coordinators as part of their in-depth review. 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."
The video shows on-set chaos as the dog has to be rescued from the water while shooting the scene.
Hercules plays a heroic K9 police dog that pulls off a dramatic rescue.
Ashley Byrne of PETA told Inside Edition: "He is clearly terrified, he is trying to get away, he is trying to back away and finally he is forced under water."
"German shepherds are historically not bred to love water," veterinarian Dani McVety told Inside Edition. "They are bred to protect our people, but not to jump into water."
Comedian Josh Gad, the voice of the dogs in the movie, is also outraged.
"As the proud owner of a rescued dog and a fervent supporter of PETA, I have reached out to the production team and studio to ask for an explanation of these disturbing images," Gad posted on social media.