The new film A Dog’s Purpose is supposed to be about the loving relationships between dogs and their human companions. But the dog who was abused on the set of the movie clearly was not being treated with love when he was shoved, terrified, into rushing water for a scene, as revealed in a TMZ video that went viral. In fact, most animals used in TV shows, movies, and advertising are treated poorly, just like he was.
But there’s more to the story than what is shown in the video. PETA conducted an eyewitness investigation of Birds & Animals Unlimited (BAU), which has rented out animals—as though they were props—to A Dog’s Purpose as well as hundreds of other productions, including The Hangover, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Animals Denied Basic Care
Dogs—including one who was used in the movie Hotel for Dogs, according to staff—were forced to sleep outside in cold temperatures without any bedding to keep them warm. Other pups—who were reportedly used in The Solutrean and CBS’ Zoo—were imprisoned alone in kennels with cold, hard concrete floors.
Snoop, an ill, elderly dog believed to have been used in the film Marmaduke, was often left outside overnight in temperatures below 50 degrees. This is just as abusive as if someone forced your sick grandpa to sleep outside in the cold on the hard ground. After testing positive for heartworm and enduring months of vomiting, refusing to eat, losing weight, and bleeding from his neglected nails, Snoop lost control of his bowel movements and was finally euthanized.
Are you a Harry Potter fan? Well, BAU staff said that Crash the owl was used in the movies, and PETA’s eyewitness saw that he was kept confined to a filthy, feces-filled enclosure.
As if all that wasn’t bad enough, animals were sometimes denied food because they were considered too fat. No, we’re not joking. For example, take Gus and Nibbs, two cats who were reportedly used in the upcoming film Benji. They were practically starved for several days and lost 5 percent of their body fat in just five days.
Horror Stories of Neglect
A 12-year-old pig named Miss Piggy—who was used as a piglet in the movie College Road Trip, workers said—frequently suffered from bloody sores all over her side. But as far as we know, no veterinarian was ever called to help her.
Miss Piggy wasn’t the only pig enduring horrendous conditions at BAU. Punky, who had severely overgrown hooves, went nearly two weeks without proper care—after the eyewitness pointed out her condition. When the person—not even a veterinarian—who trimmed her hooves told the ranch manager that Punky had arthritis, the pig received no veterinary care, to the eyewitness’s knowledge.
Lewis the pig—who was used in live shows, according to staff—had a severe and likely painful limp for several weeks before finally receiving effective treatment. We can’t imagine having no choice but to walk around on an injured leg for even one day, never mind weeks.
Birds also suffered at BAU. An employee told the eyewitness that fully conscious pigeons’ heads were torn off in order to kill them. The worker even explained that the heads don’t always come off at the first attempt. Ugh.
One pigeon was found infested with mites, slumped over, and barely moving. A few hours later, the bird was dead.
The Hidden Truth About BAU
BAU kept its training strategies a secret: Sessions took place in a building that only trainers could access. Can you imagine what went on out of public view?
The company’s staff apparently obtained some animals from shelters and rescue centers under the façade of adopting them as companions, even though they were actually procured for use in film and TV. The manager admitted that the shelters weren’t usually made aware that the animals would be used for entertainment, because—”like PETA”—they oppose such use.
YOU Can Help End This!
Believe it or not, the disturbing conditions documented at BAU are considered normal for animals used in entertainment. But YOU can be a star for animals by choosing not to support their use and abuse in Hollywood. Never purchase a ticket to a movie or production that uses live animals.