Video footage showing French animal rights activists seizing a puppy from a distraught homeless man has disgusted viewers on social media.
An representative of Cause Animale Nord, an animal rights group based in Lille, can be seen tackling the distraught man to the ground while a woman attempts to nab the small dog.
A third man then grabbed the forlorn puppy and began running down the busy street in central Paris, as the homeless man gives chase.
“It’s forbidden by the law,” a woman shouted according to The Telegraph.
The video has gone viral and been viewed on YouTube more than 1.4 million times.
Meanwhile a petition has been posted on Change.org demanding an investigation into the incident has racked up more than 221,000 signatures.
Petition organisers accused the group of violating its own rules by taking animals from their owners without prior notice.
Cause Animal Nord said that they intervened because it was an urgent situation and denied any violence had taken place.
“The person had thrown himself to the ground, crushing the puppy.
"The animal was stunned, had dilated pupils and was staggering around,” read the post.
“We took (the dog) away from a Roma who was using it for begging.
"The police don’t do anything, we act.”
The little dog, which the group renamed 'Vegan', has since been put up for adoption.