Dennis Quaid has spoken out against footage that purports to show a dog being abused on the set of his upcoming film A Dog’s Purpose, calling it “a scam.” “That video that someone took and sold for money and held on to for a year and a half until right before the film’s coming out, does not tell the whole story,” Quaid told Entertainment Tonight. “First of all, it’s been edited and manipulated. And I think it’s a scam, to tell you the truth.”
Quaid’s response matches that of W. Bruce Campbell, the original author of the book the movie is based on, and producer Gavin Polone. All three men claim to have seen the full footage of the day’s events, which centered on a German Shepherd, named Herclues, jumping in and out of a roiling swimming pool. “That was towards the end of the day and I would not say, in real context, that the dog was frightened,” Quaid said. “The dog was acting like a dog who was kind of tired of taking a bath and was ready to get out. And, in fact, that’s what happened. They took the dog out.” (In the original video, the dog’s refusal to enter the water is immediately followed by a shot of it swimming, its head appearing to go beneath the waves. There’s an obvious cut between the two sections of the footage.)
A Dog’s Purpose has faced backlash for the alleged abuse, with protesters calling for a boycott and Universal canceling press appearances and the movie’s Hollywood premiere. Co-star (and voice of the movie’s various reincarnating dogs) Josh Gad said he was “shaken” by the footage, although, unlike Quaid, Gad was never on the set to see the actual treatment of the animals during filming. “I was there. I never saw any abuse of any animal. If there had been, I would have walked,” the actor said.