CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- A Savannah man was charged with animal cruelty after his dog passed away at a Bartow County vet's office Monday night.

Cartersville Police spokesman Lt. Mark Camp said the dog, a Cocker Spaniel mix, was in distress when it was found by a concerned citizen in an East Main Street parking lot Monday morning.

The dog's owner, 50-year-old Jerry Mason, told investigators he was driving a U-Haul from Savannah to Kentucky. He said the dog became unruly in the cab of the truck, so he stopped in Atlanta to put it in the box of the U-Haul, Camp said. The box of the truck was full of items, including moving boxes, furniture and a lawnmower, according to Camp.

Mason said the dog had been in the back of the U-Haul for about an hour, Camp said.

The dog was taken to a local vet for treatment of possible heat stroke. It passed away overnight, Camp said.

Mason was arrested and charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty; he bonded out of jail Tuesday morning.

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