A New Jersey man was charged with animal cruelty after police said he drove down a street with his dog tied to his car.

Officer Michael Carlino spotted the 1-year-old Chihuahua mix, named Roxy, being dragged behind the Toyota in Middletown.

The driver, 49-year-old Keith Guastamacchia, was pulled over.

Guastamacchia claimed he let the dog outside the car to relieve herself while he finished a phone conversation with a friend.

The man said he "forgot" the dog was still tied outside the car when he drove off.

"The actions of the alert officer no doubt saved the dog's life," said Victor "Buddy" Amato, the Monmouth County SPCA's chief law enforcement officer.

Guastamacchia was arrested but has since been released with a summons to appear in court.

Roxy is being treated at a local animal hospital for her injuries.