The purebred Rottweiler was found by local residents and handed over to an animal rescue group in Linz.
He had been severely neglected, police reported.
The two men, each described as around 25 years old, were seen at 9.45 a.m. driving in a white van. They stopped in the Hörschinger district of Rudelsdorf.
One opened the back door and threw the dog out onto the road. They then fled along the Mühlbacherstraße towards Marchtrenk. A short time later, the abandoned animal was picked up by local residents.
The animal rescue group suspect that the dog probably came from abroad and was no longer suitable for sale because of its poor health condition.
The Rottweiler has been taken for treatment to the Linz animal shelter.
Austria has a problem with illegal sales of dogs from the backs of cars, especially puppies. Known as the "puppy mafia", these unlicensed breeders show little concern for their animals, and seem primarily interested only in profit.
The animal welfare group Four Paws has established a campaign against illegal dog breeding.
They recommend only buying animals from licensed and respectable breeders, and not from some unknown person selling out of their vehicle.
Here are five key tips to observe when adopting an animal:
- The sale and transfer should take place at a house, and not from a vehicle.
- Check the condition of the parents, especially the mother.
- Beware of breeders offering a wide variety of animals. Most reputable breeders specialize.
- Dogs should be at least eight weeks old before you accept them.
- A good breeder will follow up on the welfare of the animals they sell.