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'A Dog's Purpose' Picketed by PETA We Will Shame the Audience

1/23/2017 1:00 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

0122-peta-protest-a-dogs-purpose-TMZ-GETTY-01People who want to see "A Dog's Purpose" will be greeted by animal rights activists and taunted if they buy tickets and enter the theater.

PETA organizers tell TMZ they have plans to hit theaters across the country ... protesting the treatment of the animal actors in the flick. As you know, the controversy erupted after TMZ posted video of a German Shepherd in distress when a handler tried to pull the canine into the water.

The studio says the dog was treated humanely throughout the filming and the 40 second incident was harmless ... the dog was willing to go in the water but got freaked out because producers changed the point of entry.

We're told the picketers will be reminiscent of striking union workers, protesting scabs who attempt to cross the picket line.

The studio already canceled the Hollywood premiere and press junkets for fear of violence by animal rights groups.

The movie opens Friday.

'A Dog's Purpose' Premiere Canceled

1/19/2017 7:49 PM PST
Breaking News

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There will be no premiere for "A Dog's Purpose" because the studio that produced it is still reeling from the video TMZ posted showing it's animal star in distress, and there's worry PETA might create an embarrassing or even violent scene.

Amblin and Universal studios are still reviewing footage that syncs up with the video we posted to determine what happened to Hercules when he clearly was recoiling as his trainer tried pulling him into the water. The studios say the dog is fine and was never abused.

The studios know lots of people are upset after seeing the video and there's particular concern about PETA.

The studios have also canceled the press junkets.

'A Dog's Purpose' Hercules Content and Happy Studio Says No Abuse

1/19/2017 6:08 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Hercules the German Shepherd is back on dry ground, playing with a ball Thursday.

We got this video from the studio ... a day after TMZ posted video of the dog on the set, terrified of entering the water during a shoot for "A Dog's Purpose."

Studio sources tell us they've looked at all the footage and say producers blocked out a scene where the dog was supposed to enter the pool at a designated location.  We're told the dog rehearsed the scene and was fine, but then producers changed the point of entry and that's when Hercules got upset.

'A Dog's Purpose' Huge Fine and Jail Possible

1/19/2017 12:56 PM PST
Breaking News

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"A Dog's Purpose" crew members are now under investigation by Manitoba's Chief Veterinary Office, and jail time is on the table if the agency finds any wrongdoing.

The CVO tells TMZ it received a formal complaint on Wednesday, and has begun looking into what went down on the set during filming in Winnipeg.

TMZ posted the video of Hercules, a German Shepherd, appearing terrified to get in churning water to shoot a scene for the movie. The trainer tried for about 40 seconds to put Hercules in the pool. The CVO says it wasn't involved with the filming, because a rep from the American Humane Association was on set. That rep, we've learned, has since been suspended.

The Office could levy a fine up to $10k and/or sentence offenders to up to 6 months in jail.

Producers for the film say Hercules was not harmed during filming.

'A Dog's Purpose' Actor, Director Shaken Over Terrified Dog Video

1/19/2017 5:53 AM PST

The actor who voices the German Shepherd shown in the extremely disturbing video posted by TMZ says he's "shaken and sad" ... and the director echoed the sentiment.

Josh Gad, who appears in the upcoming film as the voice of the dog, says he's seen the video, which he describes as "a scared German Shepard being forced to perform a stunt." He says he doesn't have the full context, but adds, "I am shaken and sad to see any animal put in a situation against its will."

Gad is calling for "an explanation," and so is director Lasse Hallstrom, who says "I have been promised that a thorough investigation into this situation is underway and that any wrongdoing will be reported and punished."

Lisa Vanderpump Torn About Promoting 'A Dog's Purpose' ... But Has a Solution

1/19/2017 8:46 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Lisa Vanderpump's excitement about promoting "A Dog's Purpose" was crushed when she saw the disturbing video of a terrified German Shepherd on the movie's set.

We caught Lisa in Bev Hills, hours after TMZ first posted the footage of Hercules ... one of the dogs starring in the upcoming movie. She was clearly heartsick over what she saw -- particularly because of her commercial for the flick, and her extensive work with the Vanderpump Dog Foundation.

Sources close to the network tell TMZ ... Bravo honchos are mulling over whether to pull the ad Lisa shot, but regardless of what they do -- she's made a decision about the payday she got for doing it.

'A Dog's Purpose' Producers German Shepherd Is Fine, Wasn't Forced to Film

1/18/2017 5:37 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

The German Shepherd seen struggling to stay out of a pool while filming "A Dog's Purpose" was not forced to complete the scene, and shooting only resumed when he was comfortable ... according to producers.

Amblin Entertainment tells TMZ ... the dog, named Hercules, had "several days of rehearsal of the water scenes to ensure [he] was comfortable with all of the stunts."

The production company adds, "On the day of the shoot, Hercules did not want to perform the stunt portrayed on the tape so the Amblin production team did not proceed with filming that shot."

We're told the director called for a break in shooting and when they resumed ... Hercules was fine with doing the scene, and was NOT thrown into the water.

TMZ broke the story ... behind the scenes footage showed a handler trying to force the dog into the pool. Hercules ended up going under once filming resumed, but divers and handlers quickly rescued him. Amblin says, "Hercules is happy and healthy."

The company adds, the movie "is a celebration of the special connection between humans and their dogs. And in the spirit of this relationship, the Amblin production team followed rigorous protocols to foster an ethical and safe environment for the animals."

They're continuing to review footage and Amblin says it's confident great care and concern was shown for Hercules and all dogs featured in the film.

'A Dog's Purpose' Video Triggers Suspension

1/18/2017 2:45 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

The representative from the American Humane Association who was on the set of "A Dog's Purpose" has been suspended after officials saw video of a terrorized dog on set.

TMZ posted the hard-to-watch video Wednesday morning, showing a German Shepherd that clearly did not want to swim in the turbulent waters, but was forced to do so by his handler.

The American Humane Association was on set and is responsible for enforcing safety guidelines for animal actors. The org is the body that validates that no animals are harmed in the making of a film.

The AHA tells TMZ, "We are placing the safety representative who was on the set on administrative leave immediately and are bringing in an independent third party to conduct an investigation into this matter."

Amblin Partners and Universal Pictures told TMZ, they have always been determined to foster the ethical treatment of actor animals and are investigating the matter.

'A Dog's Purpose' Terrified German Shepherd Forced into Turbulent Water

1/18/2017 10:44 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

One of the dogs in the upcoming film "A Dog's Purpose" desperately resisted shooting a risky scene, but chilling footage shows filmmakers apparently forcing the animal into rushing water.

TMZ obtained this video of a scene shot in a pool outside Winnipeg, Canada in November 2015. You can see a trainer forcibly shoving a German Shepherd -- one of at least 5 dogs used in the production -- into the frothing water, but the animal wanted NO part of it ... and repeatedly clawed at the pool's edge.

Sources connected to production tell us 8 outboard motors were used to churn the water and recreate a rushing river. The dog eventually got in the water -- or was forced in -- but was quickly submerged.

It's unclear if the dog going under was scripted, but someone immediately yelled, "Cut it!" ... and handlers rushed to the animal.

We're told director Lasse Hallström was present the whole time, and at least one member of the crew was extremely disturbed by the dog's treatment during this scene.

Amblin Partners and Universal Pictures have seen the video and tell TMZ, "Fostering a safe environment and ensuring the ethical treatment of our animal actors was of the utmost importance to those involved in making this film and we will look into the circumstances surrounding this video."

Michelle Obama Look, Sunny's Not So Vicious ... I Swear It

1/18/2017 10:45 AM PST
Breaking News

Michelle Obama did some serious doggy spin with Sunny just over a week after the bitch bit the face of a White House guest.

FLOTUS posted what we're guessing is supposed to be an adorable clip of her walking around the White House with Sunny and Bo one last time before they move out on Friday.

You gotta see Michelle call for the pooches in this video -- one of them barked and nipped at the other. Hint: it wasn't Bo.

TMZ broke the story ... Sunny drew blood when she bit the young woman, who had to get stitches. 

The First Lady's caption said, "one last walk through the People's House" ... but it could've said, "Please don't take Sunny, we promise she's sweet."

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Mac Miller Move Over, Ariana ... I Got A New Puppy Love

1/18/2017 12:20 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

0117-mac-miller-tmz-01Mac Miller's gf, Ariana Grande, better hide her Louboutins ... the rapper has a new addition with sharp, destructive little teeth.

Sources close to Mac tell us he picked up a new pooch -- a 3-month-old pit mix he's named Myron. We're told Mac got him Sunday after seeing the pup in the window of Wylder's Holistic Pet Center & Rescue in Studio City.

Easy to see why Mac scooped him up -- the dog's really flippin' cute, and he'll be living it up. We're told Mac threw down about $1,200 for toys, food and treats.

Looks like Mac's finally recovering from having his last dog, Ralph, stolen 2 years ago. He offered a reward, but never got him back.

Keep Myron close, Mac ... he's too adorable.

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Obama Dog Sunny The Bitch Has Bite But No History of Aggression

1/13/2017 1:00 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

0112-obama-dog-sunny-gettyThe Obamas' dog, Sunny, has a disposition that fits her name, and until this week she's never chomped down on anyone.

We broke the story ... the Portuguese Water Dog bit a family friend in the face Monday during a visit to the White House. The wound required stitches and she may end up with a permanent scar.

We've been in touch with people who are frequently around the pooch, and we're told she's never bitten anyone else -- ever. To the contrary, the 4-year-old has a loving, even temperament.

One source noted the dog gets groomed every month and 4 to 5 people are handling her at the same time while she gets sculpted with scissors and hand dried. The dog has never shown any aggression during the grooming process.

The 18-year-old girl who got bit is pissed off at Sunny, we're told, but her family is not planning any legal action.

FUN FACT: In many states, there were laws that protected dog owners from lawsuits the first time a dog bit a person. The reason -- until dog owners are on notice of aggression, it's unfair to punish them. The "One Bite Rule" -- which essentially means every dog is entitled to one free bite -- has been repealed in most states.

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Obama Dog Sunny Bites White House Guest

1/12/2017 10:20 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

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President Obama had to deal with a small domestic crisis at the White House -- a family friend was bitten by Sunny, the First Family's 4-year-old dog.

We're told the incident occurred Monday when the 18-year-old was visiting the White House. Sources connected to the girl tell us she went to pet and kiss Sunny, and the dog bit her on the face.

Sunny -- a female Portuguese Water Dog -- left a nasty gash under the girl's eye. We're told the Obamas' family physician, Dr. Ronny Jackson, checked her out and decided she needed stitches.

She's gonna be okay, but we're told she'll likely have a small scar ... which upset her. She posted various pics of the injury and her visit to Dr. Jackson on social media. 

The bite is out of character for the breed, which typically is not aggressive in family situations. The Obamas have 2 Portuguese Water Dogs -- 8-year-old Bo has the title,"First Dog."

We reached out to the White House. No comment on the incident.

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