Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood opened in US theatres last weekend, and the film has already been met with controversy.

Animal rights organisation Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has issued an official statement on its website condemning the treatment of a pit bull terrier in the film.

"Pit bulls are the most abused and abandoned animals in dogdom, and in one thoughtless swoop, Quentin Tarantino has done much to exacerbate the situation by getting dogs from a notorious breeder for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," the statement reads.

"Pit bulls are chained, caged, neglected, starved, beaten, and even set on fire and fought to death. And like the dogs featured in this movie, their ears are often mutilated for a 'tough' look. Irresponsible portrayals like this are part of the reason why pit bulls flood our nation's shelters.

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"While the humane community is doing all that it can to help these animals — primarily, by shutting down the pit bull breeding industry — Tarantino has set them back. Shame on him."

The pit bull in question is a dog named Brandy, the pet of Brad Pitt's character Cliff Booth. The dog actor, name Sayuri, won the Palme Dog Award for her performance at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.