Officials at the organisation have called on animal lovers to boycott the film after footage of a trainer pushing a terrified German Shepherd into a pool of rushing water on set hit the Internet last week (ends20Jan17).

Movie bosses launched an investigation into the treatment of all animals during filming and director Lasse Hallstrom confessed he was appalled by what he saw in the video, shot as his assistant director was attempting to create a river-rescue scene in the film.

As a result of PETA officials' outrage, studio executives pulled the plug on last weekend's (21Jan17) A Dog's Purpose premiere and cancelled junkets with the film's stars.

Animal rights activists also threatened a protest at cinemas upon the film's U.S. release on Friday (27Jan17), and now PETA bosses have confirmed they will lead "a coalition of concerned dog lovers in a lively protest outside ArcLight Hollywood in Los Angeles", while protests have also been organised in New York, Washington, D.C., and Winnipeg, Canada, where the film was shot.

"No amount of spin from Hollywood will change the fact that being forced to do a terrifying stunt is not a dog's purpose," PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange tells WENN. "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."

Dennis Quaid, who stars in the film, and the movie's producer, Gavin Polone, a vegan animal lover, have shot back at the PETA criticism, insisting no creature was harmed on the set.

Quaid reveals he has seen the footage shot around the video, which showed animal actor Hercules in distress, and insists the dog clearly loves the water and was trained to perform water stunts.

In an article written for The Hollywood Reporter, Polone accused PETA bosses of sensationalising the scandal.