Dog dies in hot vehicle after his owner's arrest in Loudon County

By ERICA ESTEP  6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A traffic stop in Loudon County turned deadly for a dog Friday when the animal's owner was arrested. The dog was left alone in a hot truck.

Michael Hollis blames police for his dog's death, but officers say they did what Hollis asked them to do.

It all started with a traffic stop around 6:30 Friday night in Lenoir City, near the Lenoir City High School.

Michael Hollis was pulled over by a Loudon County deputy for driving on a revoked license. The deputy also told Hollis that records show he was behind on child support.

Hollis' dog, a 7-year-old pug named Jake, was also in the truck.

"He was a good dog, loyal, followed me everywhere, loved to go riding," said Hollis. "That's why he was with me."

That was the last time Hollis would see Jake alive. The dog died while Hollis was being taken to jail.

The Loudon County Sheriff's Department provided a copy of the dashboard video shot from their officer's patrol car. They say it speaks for itself.

On the video, Jake can be heard panting heavily each time the sheriff's deputy gets near the truck.

A female police officer from Lenoir City is also pictured in the video. Both officers say the dog owner called a friend to pick up Jake instead of having an animal control officer respond.

The female officer can be heard on the tape commenting on the dog's panting, saying the dog sounds bad. Hollis responds, saying, "Yeah, he does that. He's just hot. He'll get by."

Hollis admits that he said it was okay to leave the dog with water and the windows down until his friend arrived, expecting it would take 20 minutes.

On the video tape both officers are heard several times expressing concern for the dog.

At one point the sheriff's deputy says to Hollis, "I'm just worried about the dog. You can leave the truck here. I'm just worried about the dog."

The officers checked on Jake several times and gave him some water, but eventually they left him in the truck.

Just before the sheriff's deputy leaves he can be heard telling the Lenoir City officer, "I just hope somebody comes to get him. If it ends up having a heat stroke, I'll feel bad."

She says, "Me too."

When Hollis' friend arrived, the dog was already dead.

"He found him in the floor board here and he said there was no officer around," Hollis said. "I just miss my dog, wish I could have him back."

Jake's owner says he believed the female officer would stay with his dog until his friend arrived. The officers say they only did what Hollis told them to.

The temperature around that time Friday night was in the low 90s and would have been several degrees hotter inside the vehicle.

Hollis told 6 News he had considered taking legal action, but he's not certain if he will.

"I know it won't bring my dog back," he said.