LUZERNE COUNTY -- The Los Angeles premiere of a new movie is canceled after a controversial video surfaced that shows a dog being repeatedly forced to perform a stunt against its will.
Universal Pictures say the film "A Dog's Purpose" will not open in California after the movie received nationwide backlash to the video.
National outrage erupted after the controversial video surfaced showing the handling of a German Shepherd on the set of the movie “A Dog`s Purpose”.
The dog, named Hercules, was shooting a rescue scene in a movie, produced by Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment.
But the video, which shows the dog almost drowning and having to be pulled from the water, is inciting anger across the country.
“I was kind of shocked because I could see the dog was kind of struggling to get out of the water after they threw it in and I was shocked that the trainer would actually do something like that,” said Katie Lewandowski from Mountain Top.
“Filming it, saying oh, just push him in, just push him in,” said Hillary Lynch. “Like that bothers me more than anything because people are laughing about it.”
Now the studios say they are canceling this weekend's Los Angeles premiere due to the tremendous backlash.
Peggy Nork with the Luzerne County SPCA says the animal shelter was planning to hold a private advanced screening of the movie at the RC Theaters in Wilkes-Barre as part of a fundraiser.
And also canceled that screening and offered refunds to about 85 people who already bought tickets.
“We felt that we couldn`t condone raising funds based on the just the outcome of watching that video,” said Nork.
Lynch is one of those people who had tickets to the SPCA's screening.
“Well, before they were even going to cancel we weren`t going to go, once we saw that video on Facebook we weren`t going to go,” said Lynch. “I`m really glad they canceled it, I very glad they canceled it because it`s just not right to support something like that.”
Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment released this statement:
“While we are all disheartened by the appearance of an animal in distress, everyone has assured us that Hercules the German Shepherd was not harmed throughout the filmmaking.”