A man has been disqualified from keeping dogs after leaving his two labradors locked inside his car outside York Hospital during the summer heatwave.
Nicholas Foreman, 49, of Mill Close in Bridlington, appeared before York Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (October 23).
He pleaded guilty to one offence, under Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act, of causing unnecessary suffering to two Labradors, Zoe and Penny, by confining them in an environment that was detrimental to their well being, on 25 June at York Hospital in York.
He was sentenced to 150 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £300 in costs and an £85 victim surcharge. He was also disqualified from keeping dogs for five years.
Dangerous heat exhaustion
RSPCA Inspector Alice Cooper, who led the investigation, said they were contacted by concerned members of the public who spotted the two distressed dogs shut inside a red Kia hatchback during the hot weather this summer:
When I got to the hospital car park the police had already arrived and officers had smashed a window and freed the hot dogs.
Both the dogs were panting heavily and were extremely distressed. The car was parked in direct sunlight and, although a window was slightly open, it was incredibly uncomfortable inside the car.
The temperature that day was 29C and the dogs were suffering the effects of heat exhaustion so we rushed them to the vets. Penny needed cool baths to bring her body temperature down as it had reached dangerously high levels.
Need a new home
Thankfully, both dogs recovered. Black labrador Zoe, three, and two-year-old chocolate labrador Penny were signed over into the RSPCA’s care and are now being looked after by staff at York Animal Home – run by RSPCA York, Harrogate & District Branch.
The duo are described as ‘sweet’ girls who are totally devoted to each other and enjoy playing and snoozing together. Staff would like them to find a home together where they will enjoy long walks and agility.
Zoe is very friendly and confident while Penny is a little nervous and relies on her friend. They’d like a new home with older children where someone will be around for much of the day.
“Penny and Zoe were incredibly lucky,” Inspector Cooper added. “Unfortunately, we’ve been called to many incidents of dogs being left in hot cars where the animals have succumbed to the heat.
“I really hope that cases like this will help to demonstrate the dangers of leaving pets in hot environments when the weather heats up.”
Over the summer this year (1 June – 31 August) the RSPCA received 5,527 reports of animals suffering heat exposure, the majority of which related to dogs being left in hot cars.
“It’s just not good enough – no one should be gambling with their dog’s life,” Insp Cooper said.
Each summer, the RSPCA leads a coalition of organisations and charities to run the Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign, urging owners never to leave their pets in hot environments such as cars, caravans or conservatories and advising members of the public what to do if they spot a dog in a car on a warm day.