A Florida man was charged with animal cruelty after several witnesses saw him speeding down the highway, dragging a pit bull behind his car, according to the local sheriff’s office.
The dog died from its injuries, which included severe road rash on one side of its body and mangled paws, a Pasco County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) deputy told local media.
Deputies later arrested 65-year-old Arlow Lorenzo Phillips, who told officers he killed the pet, the sheriff’s office said to Fox 13 Tampa Bay. Phillips was seen by multiple witnesses “driving erratically” and speeding while pulling a pit bull behind his black 2008 Kia at roughly 9 p.m. August 10, police said.
Newsweek reached out via email on Wednesday to the PCSO for comment.
One witness told investigators that the dog was “howling” as it was being dragged down the highway, Fox 13 reports.
A PCSO deputy told the local outlet that he also witnessed Phillips driving that night. He recounted a horrific scene, saying the pit bull was in a pool of blood at the intersection of Manor Drive and U.S. Highway 19 in Pasco County, Florida.
The dog’s leash had been tethered to the back passenger door with the window closed, according to the sheriff’s office. The deputy said he observed that the dog had road rash on one side of his body and that his paws were “severely” injured.
Witnesses who were interviewed by investigators confirmed the horrific details, saying the dog was crying out, PCSO told the outlet. How long the dog was being dragged by the vehicle was unknown at the time of publication. It’s also unclear if the pit bull died at the scene or later at an emergency veterinary clinic.
On Monday, PSCO deputies contacted Phillips to set up an interview, but after seeing him driving the same black 2008 Kia that day, they followed him to his home and conducted a traffic stop after discovering that his license had been revoked since 2007. Phillips has seven convictions for driving while license suspended or revoked (DWLSR) in addition to other prior brushes with law enforcement, PCSO told Fox 13.
Phillips was arrested on Monday night, charged with cruelty to animals and DWLSR, Fox 13 reports. He was questioned about the incident involving the pit bull, the sheriff’s office said.
Phillips told investigators that he had intentionally attached the dog to the car because the AC didn’t work and it was too hot for the canine inside. He told deputies that he forgot about the dog while driving on the highway and said that he had killed the pet, PCSO told Fox 13.
He said that he took the dog to an emergency veterinarian, but the dog was unable to be saved, according to PCSO. When investigators contacted the veterinarian, they said that Phillips told them that the pit bull was hit by a car.
It is unclear if Phillips had retained an attorney as of Wednesday evening.