DULUTH, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia man abandoned his dog alongside a busy road late at night in bad weather, but officers saw what happened and arrested him, police said Friday.
Officers arrested 27-year-old Matthew Sanders of Stone Mountain late Sunday on charges of abandonment of a dog and reckless conduct, Gwinnett County police said in an email.
Two officers noticed a black Lexus sedan with its headlights off and no license plate pull away from the side of the busy road in unincorporated Duluth just after 11:30 p.m. Sunday, leaving a dog behind, according to a police report. The officers saw a little white dog run after the car as it drove away.
Sanders was released on bond, but a phone number for him couldn’t immediately be found. It wasn’t clear if he had a lawyer who could comment on the charges.
After Sanders drove off, leaving the dog, officers stopped the car. As an officer began to get out of the patrol car, Sanders exited his car with a dog collar in his hand, the police report says. The dog caught up to the car and ran over and sat between Sanders and the officer.
Sanders explained to officers that he’d only had the dog, Prince, for a week and a half and was trying to get rid of him because he wasn’t listening, the report says. When told he shouldn’t leave the dog in the road, Sanders said he had a code for a nearby storage center and had planned to leave the dog there but it followed him out, the report says.
Video released Friday by police shows Sanders explaining to officers that he had found the dog by the road and took it home and fed it but that the dog wasn’t listening and was pooping around the house, so he brought the animal outside to see if it would just leave on its own.
“Since the abandoned dog was dropped off on a major roadway, it is doubtful that the dog would have survived whether it was hit by a car, starved, or succumbed to the weather,” Sgt. Justin Richey said in the emailed statement.
In addition to charges of abandoning a dog and reckless conduct, Sanders was cited for not having his headlights, not having a license plate and violating a leash law. He was booked into the Gwinnett County jail.
Prince was taken in by animal control workers and seems headed for a happy ending. Police learned Thursday that he has an adoption hold on him and that his new owner will be able to pick him up once a mandatory waiting period ends.