A driver was yesterday spotted dragging a dog behind his car as he drove on a road in eastern China.
The male motorist feared the pet would bite him if it had stayed inside the car, he reportedly told police.
The man, known by his surname Tang, said he was driving the dog from his parents' home to his home in Jiangsu Province.
A short clip of the disturbing incident was uploaded to the Chinese social media yesterday afternoon, causing an outcry.
Furious web users managed to track down the identity of the owner of the car after noticing the number plate.
However, the car's owner who lives in Changzhou City said he had lent his car to a friend.
It turns out that the owner's friend, Mr Tang, had driven the car to a nearby city Wuxi before the incident took place and was filmed by an eyewitness.
Mr Tang said the dog belonged to his parents, according to local newspaper Modern Express quoting Changzhou Police.
The man said his father had fallen ill and his mother had to look after his father in the hospital, therefore he was looking after the dog.
He claimed he had not intended to harm the pet. He also said he was not close to the dog and was worrying it would bite him.
The dog was dragged for about one kilometres (0.6 miles) before escaping from the rope restraints and running home, Mr Tang said.
Mr Tang has apologised to the public for his behaviour. He said the dog was not hurt.
Police in Wuxi are carrying out further investigation into the incident.
There is no law in China to protect animals from being abused though more and more people are urging Beijing to publish regulations to prevent animal cruelty.
In September 2009, animal rights activists and legal experts began circulating a draft Law on the Protection of Animals and in 2010, a draft Law on the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for the State Council's consideration, according to Human Rights in China, a Chinese non-governmental organisation based in New York.
The draft proposes a fine of up to 6,000 yuan (£696) and two weeks' detention for those found guilty of animal cruelty, according to China Daily.
However till this day, no progress has been made.
Commenting on the distressing footage, a spokesperson from animal welfare organisation Humane Society International stressed the importance for the Chinese government to approve the draft law as soon as possible.
The spokesperson told MailOnline: 'For as long as China has no legal protection against acts of cruelty for animals like this poor dog, and no penalties for those who abuse animals, we will continue to see these heart-breaking scenes.'
She also raised doubts about the claim that the dog was unharmed. She said similar incidents in the past often saw the dragged animals having painfully scraped paws and lacerated skin, and 'at the very least he will have been terrified by the ordeal'.