"I am shaken and sad to see any animal put in a situation against its will" said Josh Gad in a statement
Josh Gad, who voices a character in the upcoming film A Dog’s Purpose, has said he’s ‘shaken and sad’ after seeing a controversial video that surfaced on Wednesday showing a trainer appearing to force one of the film’s animals into turbulent waters.
The American Humane Association, which is responsible for the safety of animals on film and TV sets, announced that it has suspended the animal safety representative who worked on the film and has launched an independent investigation, a spokesperson told the Associated Press.
Gad, on Twitter, said that he saw the “disturbing” video obtained by TMZ, in which a German Shepherd is seen clawing at a pool’s edge and trying to run away as a trainer attempts to get the dog into the rushing water.
“I signed on for a film that truly stands out as one of the most beautiful love letters to animals I have ever seen,” Gad explained in a statement. “Today, however, I saw a disturbing video that appears to show a scared German Shepherd being forced to perform a stunt on the set of this film.”
He continued, “While I do not know all the details and cannot speak to the level of care and caution that went into this moment (as I was never on set for the making of this film), I am shaken and sad to see any animal put in a situation against its will.”
The actor concluded, “As a proud dog owner and a fervent supporter of organizations like PETA, I have reached out to the production team and studio to ask for an explanation.”
A Dog’s Purpose director Lasse Hallstrom also expressed his displeasure with the video — despite TMZ’s report that he was present for the incident.
“I am very disturbed by the video released today from the set of my film A Dog’s Purpose. I did not witness these actions. We were all committed to providing a loving and safe environment for all the animals in the film,” the director wrote in a series of tweets. “I have been promised that a thorough investigation into this situation is underway and that any wrongdoing will be reported and punished.”
He later added, “I have been a lifelong animal lover and A DOG’S PURPOSE is my third film about dogs. The animals’ safety was of utmost priority for both myself and everyone on the set … We were all committed to providing a loving, respectful and safe environment for all the animals in the film.”
Pooch Hall, one of the stars of the film, retweeted the director’s statement and added that the dogs were loved and in fact treated “like kings” on set.