Police: Dog left in hot car while owner shops at mall

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Suspect is Valley journalist

CHANDLER -- The temperature was about 105 Friday afternoon when a woman called police after seeing a dog barking inside an SUV parked at Chandler Fashion Center.

"And the dog was suffering from heat exhaustion," Sgt. Rick Griner said. "We had another officer take the dog to a vet here in Chandler where they did an IV to replenish the fluids in the dog."

Police tracked down the owner, Eugene Scott, 27, who reportedly admitted he left his dog, Brother, a 1-year-old puggle, inside the vehicle with the front windows cracked.

"And he also knew he couldn't take the dog into the mall and he wanted to get something to eat in the mall, so he chose to leave the dog in the car and go to the mall," Griner said.

But surveillance video from Dillard's shows Scott walking around the men's department.

Ironically, this animal cruelty case unfolded the same day Chandler police Sgt. Tom Lovejoy faced a judge. Lovejoy was accused of animal cruelty for leaving his K-9 partner, Bandit, in his vehicle, leading to the dog's death.

Griner says Lovejoy's case was negligence since he didn't realize or remember Bandit was still in the car.

"And that's what makes it different from Eugene Scott's case," Griner adds. "Mr. Scott knew that the dog was in the car, he went into the store anyway, putting the dog in harm. That's not just knowingly and intentionally, but also wreckless part of the statute, which covers all three of them for that statute."

Scott knows the Lovejoy case very well. He's a reporter for "The Arizona Republic." He wrote about Bandit's death when it happened last year.

"Not only did he make the conscious decision to leave the dog in the car, but he even wrote about this case, about ours, last year," Griner said. "You would think he'd know better."