When motorists spotted a golden retriever being dragged along the road by a black car on Monday morning (Aug 14), they took immediate action to save the dog.
They alerted animal rights activists and the media to the mistreatment that took place near a traffic junction in Zhejiang, China.
In photos circulating on social media, the dog can be seen being pulled by the car as it travelled, with one end of its leash attached to a door handle. It might have been dragged for a distance of up to two kilometres.
The dog's owner, a man surnamed Hong, told Chinese media that he had loaned the car to a friend that morning.
Hong claimed that he chased after the vehicle and attempted to call his friend. But when the call got through, the dog was already injured.
He said that he had tied the dog's leash to the car door handle because it was too active.
But infuriated netizens are not buying Hong's excuses, saying that it is impossible for the driver not to see such a big dog from the rear view mirror, or not to hear the dog barking from distress.
When reporters located Hong and the dog, it was found resting on the ground with abrasions all over its body.
It was later taken to an animal hospital where a veterinarian said it had sustained serious injuries that require surgery. He added that the wounded pooch may take up to a month to make a full recovery.
While Hong and netizens are arguing over who is to blame for the dog's plight, animal lovers are more concerned about its condition.
Worried that that dog might be hurt again, some people offered to buy the dog from Hong but they were rejected.
This is not the first sighting of dogs being dragged on the road by vehicles.
Two dogs died after being subjected to the cruel treatment in Shandong and Guangzhou in 2016 and 2014 respectively.
The drivers ignored other motorists' pleas to stop their vehicles and caused the dogs to die from their injuries.