Pet dog 'baked to death' after owner left her in car during heat wave

Posted on 2:24 PM by Sameer Shah

A negligent pet owner left his dog to 'cook to death' inside a boiling hot car while he visited his girlfriend.

The animal, named Sasha, was found dead in the car after worried neighbours called the police and the RSPCA.

Experts said that the inside of the BMW was as hot as an Aga cooker. The dog had died after two hours inside the vehicle which had been parked in direct sun during the heat wave in August, when temperatures outside were in excess of 22 degrees.

When a vet pulled Sasha, a rescued Rottweiler dog, out of the sweltering car her body temperature was so high that the mercury rocketed off the scale of his thermometer.

Sasha's owner James MacDonald was fined £574 pounds after admitting to a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

Magistrates banned him from keeping animals for only a year - meaning he will be allowed to own a dog again.

The court at Banbury, Oxon, heard how the married 42-year-old was visiting a girlfriend at a bed and breakfast guesthouse in Chipping Norton, Oxon, in August this year.

He had taken his dog with him on the journey from his home in Whitton, Middlesex.

Paddy Roche, prosecuting, told JPs how the landlady of the B&B saw MacDonald pull into the car park in his BMW before going to visit his girlfriend.

However, when she left to go to the shops, she noticed the 'distressed' female Rottweiler panting in the back of the saloon car.

'The parking space was in the sun and it was a hot afternoon,' said Mr Roche.

'The landlady went past the car and realised the dog was a Rottweiler and it was in distress.

'It was panting badly with long drawn out pants. Only one of the rear windows was open and it was open by two inches.'

The worried landlady called the RSPCA, who in turn alerted the police before rushing to the scene.

'A PCSO arrived first and, with the help of the landlady's husband, smashed in the driver's window of the car,' added Mr Roche.

'They described the heat of the inside of the car as being like an Aga oven.'

A vet then clambered inside the vehicle and found Sasha wedged in a footwell under the driver's seat of the car, where she had desperately tried to escape from the blistering heat and intense sunlight.

Six bottles of water were also discovered inside the car - but all the tops had been left screwed on.

After her body was pulled out of the car a temperature reading was taken using a thermometer which had a maximum of 42 degrees centigrade.

However, the mercury shot straight off the scale.

Even four hours after her dead body was found, her core temperature read 43 degrees - five degrees more than what a normal dog her size should have been.

A post mortem examination on Sasha's body had suffered multiple organ failure due to the overwhelming heat.

In an RSPCA interview, MacDonald said he was told that animals were not allowed inside the B&B so he was left with no choice but to leave her in the car with the window slightly open.

He told Inspector Will Rippon that he 'loved that dog so much' and wished he could turn the clock back.

Shirley Selby, defending, said the dog's death had been caused by a 'total error of judgment' by MacDonald, who had owned her since she was rescued at the age of two-and-a-half years.

She told JPs that he was 'completely devastated' by the death.

Passing sentence, presiding magistrate Eileen Bussell told him: 'While we accept it was not a deliberate act, you acted in complete negligence by not ensuring you checked on the welfare of the dog when you were away.'

Following the case, Inspector Rippon said: 'This case just highlights how important it is not to leave dogs in cars in hot weather.

'They can overheat so quickly leading to suffering and potential death. I would encourage anyone to think twice before leaving their dog in a car.'

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