A prominent vegan activist has come under fire for rejecting a rescue centre's offer to care for an abandoned puppy he found on the streets of Bali.
James Aspey first rose to prominence after refusing to speak for a year to raise awareness about animal rights. He now travels the world preaching about the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle and raising awareness about animal rights.
But now the social media influencer has been accused of putting a newborn puppy's life at risk to boost his popularity online.
Mr Aspey, who lives in Bali with his wife Nicky, posted a photo to his 261,000 Instagram followers showing him nursing the female puppy he'd found on the streets of popular tourist destination of Canggu in early January.
Vegan activist James Aspey (pictured with his wife Nicky) has come under fire for rejecting a rescue centre's offer to take in an abandoned puppy
He asked if anyone living in Bali had access to a lactating mother who could help feed the puppy, as the first few days of the mother's colostrom, is vital in building a newborns' immune system.
'We just found this one day old puppy and we can’t find the mother,' he wrote.
'Apparently there were four other puppies, but it was a huge rain today and the mother only saved one. She hasn’t been seen since.'
Many of his followers called on him to take the pup to a vet or go back to where he found the location to see if the mother had returned - with rescue organisation 'ACT 4 Bali' offering to take the pup from him and ensure she received adequate care.
But the rehabilitation centre later claimed Mr Aspey had decided to care for the pup himself.
'I guess he is going to do it himself instead with formula,' ACT 4 Bali dogs wrote.
Mr Aspey shared a photo of the newborn pup to Instagram early this month after finding it alone in Canggu, Bali
After seeing the exchange, a woman took to a vegan Facebook page and claimed Mr Aspey was 'putting a newborn animal's life at risk for likes'.
'Some pretty disturbing stuff happens these days with social media 'influencers'. It's not something we talk about a lot, but this latest incident is literally life and death,' she wrote.
'Please, please do not follow the lead of people who are interested in self promotion and self gain.'
'If you find a vulnerable animals in need, please send them to someone who can actually care for them. Keeping them to take promotional pictures and quite literally risking their life does not make you a saviour.'
The post quickly went viral, with many vegans slamming Mr Aspey for not handing over the puppy to the animal shelter.
Rescue centre ACT4 Bali Dogs offered to take in the puppy (pictured) but claimed Mr Aspey told them he planned to look after the dog overnight
'He is like a kid with a new toy. Unfortunately, by the time he realises how selfish and wrong it is to deprive the little newborn puppy from experienced critical care, it's going to be too late,' one person wrote.
Another added: 'I'm so angry at him right now. He is ignoring help for attention.'
'[He is an] attention seeker and he is definitely getting a lot of it. The poor puppy will pay the price of his stupidity,' a third wrote.
However, others defended Mr Aspey, saying the puppy was in safe hands.
'I don’t get this post at all. I see a guy caring for an abandoned puppy to the best of his ability. Talk about judgmental,' someone else's comment read.
'Maybe he’s found someone else? We shouldn’t jump on the negatives,' another wrote.
'If he is being guided by a professional then there's no reason why he can't raise the pup? We all started like that?' a third said.
The following day the activist posted a video showing the puppy reunited with its mother, explaining she had been found and led him to another five puppies trapped down a sewer.
After climbing down the drain, Mr Aspey was able to winch them to safety, but unfortunately two were already dead.
On Monday, he uploaded a video of the puppy rescue mission to Instagram after members of the vegan community continued to express doubt over his story.
A dog rescue organisation offered to care for the puppy, but later wrote their proposition was rejected
Members of the vegan community slammed his decision after his exchange with the rescue centre was shared in a Facebook group
Mr Aspey told Daily Mail Australia he was following veterinary advice while looking after the puppy before locating its mother.
'I didn’t trust them as they were spreading lies about me. I was following advice from a vet who advised me on everything necessary to take the best care of the dogs,' he said.
He added that while many members of the vegan community supported him, a few 'are obsessed with tearing other people down' and 'set a terrible example for the community, which is about justice, peace and respect for life'.
'Most of the vegan community behaved like rational people and applauded my efforts to risk my safety and save animals,' he said.
'Some of the vegan community, and often the most vocal section, like to view me as a monster and twist my words and actions to suit their narrative.
'[But] some of them said I stole the puppies, some said I staged the whole thing and it was a publicity stunt. I couldn’t care less about these people.'
Mr Aspey made headlines in 2015 when he spoke for the first time in 365 day after a year-long vow of silence to raise awareness about animal cruelty.
He has since dedicated his life to activism and launched numerous campaigns, with supporters funding his pursuit by subscribing to his web page.
Mr Aspey boasts more than 260 Instagram followers and travels the world, raising awareness about animal rights