Dennis Quaid, star of the upcoming film A Dog’s Purpose, is speaking out about the controversial footage that surfaced showing a German Shepherd seemingly being forced into churning water to film a scene for the movie.
“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 ET. “First of all, it’s been edited and manipulated. And I think it’s a scam, to tell you the truth.”
“That was towards the end of the day and I would not say, in real context, that the dog was frightened,” he continued. “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.”
According to Quaid, there was no abuse happening on set. “I was there. I never saw any abuse of any animal. If there had been, I would have walked,” Quaid said. “My experience is that the animals were treated great. There was no animal abuse.”
Had there been, Quaic said, he would not promote the film in any way — as he himself is a dog lover.
“My basset hound I had as a kid, she sometimes felt like my only friend,” Quaid recalled. “She went everywhere with me. She slept with me. She just knew my emotional state. We took care of each other and that’s what dogs do. They give you unconditional love.”
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In a statement released shortly after the video surfaced, PETA condemned the incident, saying it was “calling on dog lovers to boycott the film in order to send the message that dogs and other animals should be treated humanely, not as movie props.”
“It makes me angry, to tell you the truth,” Quaid said of the controversy, while reiterating that what the video presented “was completely out of context. It was edited … and all of the footage I saw, the dog was going into the water happily and had to be restrained, actually, from going into the water many times during that day.”
A Dog’s Purpose opens in theaters Jan. 27.