Fire Trainer Accused of Shoving Dog Into Raging Water for Movie

Target: Holly Barrio, President of Production, Amblin Partners

Goal: Publicly condemn the handler allegedly responsible for putting a dog in immediate danger on set for an upcoming film.

A fearful dog was thrown into man-made rapids during the filming of the upcoming film, “A Dog’s Purpose,” while on set in Winnipeg, Canada. In the TMZ-released video, the German Shepherd clearly resists commands and attempts to coerce him into the water. The handler at last appears to shove the terrified canine into the rushing water, which was powered by 8 outboard motors to recreate white-water rapids. The dog quickly becomes submerged, and several other handlers rush to his rescue. Thankfully the dog, Hercules, was recovered in time and suffered no physical harm as a result.

Amblin Partners, the production company behind the film along with Universal Pictures, has claimed that no force was used, but the video appears to suggest otherwise. PETA has stepped forward to condemn the movie in a statement calling for a boycott of the film. A representative from the American Humane Association was present on set, and has since been suspended, but Amblin Partners should also investigate the handler’s actions and more strongly speak out against this apparent act of cruelty.

If Amblin Partners’ goal is, as they have stated, to “foster a safe environment” and to ensure “the ethical treatment of our animal actors,” they should not allow this handler to work with animals on set again. Sign below and demand that Amblin Partners publicly condemn the trainer’s actions and commit to preventing further mistreatment on the sets of their future films.


Dear Ms. Barrio,

In a video recently released by TMZ, a frightened dog appears to be forced into man-made rapids against its will. The video appears to show the animal struggle repeatedly for safety, before being lowered into the water by the trainer on set. The dog immediately disappears under the fast moving water, and has to be rescued by other handlers on set. Based on the dog’s reactions and subsequent need for rescue, it would appear that the animal was at the very least subjected to emotional trauma and placed in possible danger of physical harm as well. In light of these circumstances, we urge you to make a stronger statement and to condemn the actions the handler displayed in the video.

To not publicly decry the use of force with terrified animal actors is to place these performers and potentially their handlers in harm’s way. A frightened animal is incapable of reacting in a predictable manner, and may injure himself or others. Animals should not be subjected to situations which provoke such fear, and should not be made to perform when displaying such a heightened state of arousal.

The handler who forced this dog into the water should not be allowed to work with animals in future productions, unless properly supervised to ensure that such traumatic incidents do not occur. We demand you make a public statement which condemns these actions, and commit to the better treatment of animal actors on set.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Nickyhannaway

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  1. Cynthia Mattera says:

    American Humane Society member on set, thought that this was ok??? He/she is on set to PROTECT animals from harm, fear, or danger. This person should be fired along with the trainer! Shame on Amblin Partners for defending these people. As a result, I will no longer be going to see this film!!!!

    • Andrea Schwartz says:

      Just because u c the word humane, doesn’t mean squat as this is NOT the first I’ve seen on animals used in movies..sadly ?

  2. Catherine emerson says:

    Hit these morons where it hurst, Their pockets, boycott this idiotic film.

  3. Catherine emerson says:

    Hit these morons where it hurts, Their pockets, boycott this idiotic film.

  4. Animals should not be used in films or television because behind the scenes they are not treated humanely. The dog was clearly afraid to go into water. You wouldn’t force a human to do something they were afraid to. Same with animals.

  5. Once animals get stressed, it’s all off-limits — CGI is a wonderful option — time for it to be implemented — SHAME on AHA — the point & purpose of AHA’s existence is to protect animals at all costs — go with CGI.

    This a-hole trainer needs to be brought up on charges. If other trainers had to come to Hercules’ rescue, THEY knew it was wrong.
    Then make sure he NEVER gets near ANY animal again. EVER.
    This is why we need a National Animal Abuse Registry.

    Our family just lost the most wonderful GSD ever, on Christmas Eve. I’d give anything to take this beautiful pup home <3

  7. Perczak Ewa says:

    even then some people can say that this is the way of dog education, I think that it is horirble, how can they think that the dog will be used to go to the water by himself ? !!! My dogs were afraid of the water and I spent 2 weeks to used them to go to !!! with the play and ball, they started to go and swim by themselves and now I got it !!! without any cruelty !!! sheme to them !!

  8. Lisa Zarafonetis says:

    Signed & shared❗?

  9. The director of the film has released a statement. The director agrees it went too far and that the TMZ-PETA video put 3 separate scenes together to make it appear as 1.

  10. the humane society thought this was okay what the hell kind of spca have they got down there they were probably paid under the table to allow this poor animal this torture for a stupid movie that should be banned

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