‘A Dog’s Purpose’ Author W. Bruce Cameron Defends Controversial Leaked Video

W. Bruce Cameron, the author of the novel that inspired the film A Dog’s Purpose, has made a statement regarding the controversial video that was leaked to TMZ on Wednesday. The video shows a handler forcing Hercules, a German Shepherd who plays a police dog in the film, into a pool of rushing water in order to shoot a scene for the movie.

“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 wrote in a statement to E! News this 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 wrote. “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 continued. “He loves the water, wasn’t in danger, and wasn’t upset.”

Despite the fact that the on-set monitor representing American Humane—a group that monitor the care and treatment of animals on television and movie sets—was suspended after the video went viral, Cameron stands by the film. “I celebrate animal rescue and am proud of the values that show up in A Dog’s Purpose,” he said.

While Amblin Entertainment, the production company behind A Dog’s Purpose, maintains that Hercules is “happy and healthy,” the premiere and press junket for the film have been cancelled.

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