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‘A Dog’s Purpose’ protest in NYC to be led by PETA at midtown theater

"A Dog's Purpose," opening Jan. 27, will see a midtown protest organized by PETA. Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

Following its call to boycott “A Dog’s Purpose,” PETA is leading protests in 25 cities, including New York.

AMC Empire 24, at 234 W. 42nd St., will be the site of what the animal rights organization calls a “lively protest” in a statement. Dog lovers are encouraged to turn out at 12:30 p.m. Friday.

And, per local organizer Ashley Byrne, all you need to do is show up: Signs and leaflets will be provided by PETA.

An ideal outcome of the protests – and circulation of the #BoycottADogsPurpose hashtag – Byrne, associate director of campaigns for PETA, said, would be for filmmakers to utilize technology, not live animals, in productions.

“We hope that filmmakers, studios, will take this as a cue to stick to CGI,” Byrne said, adding that films including “Noah” and “The Jungle Book” took advantage of computer-generated imagery.

The Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures film, opening Friday, has been mired in controversy since the release earlier this month of a TMZ video that depicts a German shepherd being forced into raging waters on set in Winnipeg, Canada. The dog is shown struggling with its handler to get out of the water and onto solid ground.

“No amount of spin from Hollywood will change the fact that being forced to do a terrifying stunt is not a dog’s purpose,” Lisa Lange, PETA senior vice president, said in a statement. “PETA is calling on kind people to boycott this film and send the message that animals should be treated humanely, not exploited and abused as movie props.”

Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures issued a short statement on Jan. 18, when the TMZ video surfaced, saying that the “production team followed rigorous protocols to foster an ethical and safe environment for the animals.” The dog depicted in the video, Hercules, was shown “great care and concern,” as were all animals in the production.

“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,” the statement continues.

Demonstrations on the film’s opening day will take place across North America, including in Winnipeg.

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