#BBCtrending: The abused dog and the online manhunt

A dog being dragged behind a car Image copyright Weibo user 爱上汕头

Pictures of a dog chained to the back of a car as it is dragged along a road have prompted an outcry on Chinese social media. They triggered a "human flesh search" for the driver, who has now confessed on local television.

The photos were uploaded to Sina Weibo - a microblogging site similar to Twitter - over the weekend. They show a dog tied by a chain to the back of a car which seems to be in motion, on a busy road in Shantou, a city in southern China. Unable to keep pace with the car, the dog is being dragged behind it, and its hind legs appear to be bleeding.

The images provoked a mixture of shock and disgust from many using the site. "This is simply unbelievable. Just what did the dog do wrong that it had to be treated this way?" said one. Others were alarmed that nobody seemed to be helping the animal. "What were those who took pictures videos thinking about? If everyone got out of their cars to stop him, would the dog be abused to death?" said another.

The incident has spawned a "human flesh search" for the person driving the car - an attempt by the online community to track down and expose whoever is responsible. And in this case the controversial practice appears to have been successful. A man's name, address and telephone number have been shared on Sina Weibo, along with calls for people to track him down in real life. It is believed the details were found in conjunction with the car's license plate - information which should only be visible to the authorities, but appears to have been leaked online.

On Monday the driver, identified only as Mr Zheng, appeared on local television to admit responsibility for the incident. He said he wanted to be rid of the dog because it kept biting people. He apologised for his actions and pleaded asked Sina Weibo users not to share any more of his personal information.

An animal rights group that cares for cats and dogs in the Guangdong province has organised a campaign to find the missing dog. Ms Chen, a spokesperson for the group, tells BBC Trending the driver claimed the dog did not die, and was left at the side of the road. "Our volunteers ran to the scene, but found nothing," she says.

Reporting by Sam Judah and Vincent Ni

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