NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) — A 65-year-old New Port Richey man reportedly admitted to killing his dog by dragging it behind his vehicle “at a high rate of speed,” according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said witnesses spotted Arlow Phillips “driving erratically, speeding and dragging a pit-bull dog behind a vehicle” along U.S. Highway 19 on Thursday, Aug. 10.

A deputy called to the scene reported seeing Phillips’ vehicle and a pit bull lying in the road in a pool of blood at the intersection of the highway and Manor Drive. The dog had severe injuries consistent with road rash.

The deputy also saw a leash attached to the rear passenger door through the door jam, according to the report.

Witnesses told authorities they heard the dog howling as Phillips dragged the dog by attaching the leash through the door jam.

Deputies spoke with Phillips again on Monday and he reportedly admitted to attaching his dog to the vehicle “because he does not have AC and thought it would be too hot for him inside the car.”

Phillips said he forgot about the dog and admitted to killing it. He told deputies he took the dog to an emergency vet after the incident. However, when authorities spoke with the vet, they learned Phillips had told them the dog was hit by a car.

Neighbors of Phillips are in shock over the incident.

“He was an awesome dog. Arlo was a good man and loved him to death,” said George North.

North said Phillips is battling cancer and is also being evicted from his home. He said Phillips’ landlord has recently shut off his electricity and he did not have air conditioning in his home, so he would often sit outside with the dog tied to the vehicle.

“He’d leave his food out and his water out and tie him to the wheel of the truck and let him get up underneath the truck so that he’d be out of the sun. I mean he loved that dog, he loved him like a son,” said North.

North believes the situation was an accident.

“People that’s going hear this, they’re going to have a real bad look upon Arlo, because they’re going to call him an animal abuser, or something like that, and that’s not the case at all,” said North.

Phillips was arrested and charged with cruelty to animals and driving while license suspended or revoked. Deputies noted Phillips had seven DWLSR convictions including prior DUIs.