A Vancouver-based dog rescue charity has pulled out of a charity linked to the film A Dog’s Purpose.
“We just can’t align ourselves with that kind of treatment of an animal,” says Susan Patterson, founder of Vancouver-based non-profit Thank Dog I Am Out Rescue Society.
The move comes after Hollywood gossip site TMZ released a video shot on set of the Hollywood film, in which a terrified German Shephard is forced into rushing water, at one point appearing to lose control and dip beneath the surface.
Patterson says in the run-up to the film’s release, Universal Pictures had approached hundreds of rescue-based non-profits like hers, giving them the chance to hold pre-screenings of the movie as a fundraiser for their organizations.
She says they’d already gone through negotiations and signed a contract with Cineplex and sold nearly all of the tickets for the event when the controversial video leaked.
“All the 140 rescue groups that were all trying to work hard like we were to promote the movie, and support the cause of rescue… everything has gone out the window. It’s a complete disaster. So we’re devastated on so many different levels,” she says.
The group had initially faced the possibility of being on the hook for $3,600, but Cineplex says it told all affected groups yesterday that it was waiving any cancellation fees for groups that had booked pre-screenings.
But what Patterson says really stings is that the entire incident has destroyed what was meant to be a bright spot for dog rescue.
“The devastating part that I’m still struggling with is that this was a movie that was meant to escalate the cause. Every dog that was used in the movie was a rescue dog.”
She says while the film is now tarnished, she still stands behind the novel it was based on.
This post was updated to include Cineplex’s move to waive cancellation fees.