Authorities credit an alert police officer with saving the life of the dog, named Roxy.
He spotted the battered pooch at Miller Street and Highway 36 in Highlands Friday night, and stopped the driver.
Roxy, an adorable four and a half pound Chihuahua mix, is being treated in a Red Bank animal hospital after being dragged behind the car.
"If it wasn't for that officer the dog would be dead by now," said Chief Buddy Victor Amato of the Monmouth County SPCA.
The owner told the officer he had tied Roxy to the door while he argued with a friend on his cellphone, but inadvertently forgot about the pup and drove off.
The pads on all four of her paws are gone, along with much of the hair and skin on her legs and stomach. But Chief Amato says Roxy's prognosis for recovery is excellent.
"For a four and a half pound dog, it's remarkable how good it's doing," said Amato.
As for the dog's owner, 49-year-old Keith Guastamacchia of Middletown Township, he was arrested, charged with animal cruelty, and released with a summons. He has a court date at the end of the month, and is expected to pay restitution.
"He was destroyed, he felt stupid. Very upset, very concerned about the dog, and remorseful," said Amato. He described the owner's actions as negligent, but not intentional, and expects Roxy to be returned to Guastamacchia.
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