Two dogs die after being left in hot car

Two dogs die after being left in hot car

Two security dogs died after being left shut in the boot of their owner's car for two hours on a hot April day.

A London man appeared in court this week for trial and was found guilty of one offence of causing unnecessary suffering to his two dogs by leaving them in a hot car. He was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £750 and a victim surcharge of £90. 

Metropolitan Police officers were called to Ilford on 20 April 2019 after reports of dogs inside a car in the hot weather. When officers arrived they found one of the dogs - both Belgian Malinois used for security work - dead in his kennel in the boot of the car, while the second had collapsed but was still breathing.

Body-worn cameras captured footage of their owner explaining to officers that the dogs, Hector and Yardie, had been in the back of his car in their crates with the boot door open and a fan running. He said he'd had complaints at home about their barking so left them in the car instead.

Police contacted our emergency hotline and Inspector Kate Ford attended the scene to launch an investigation.

Police rushed Yardie to the vets but she couldn't be saved

In her statement, Inspector Ford said: "Police officers were already on the scene. I had spoken to one of the officers on route who was [taking] the female dog, Yardie, to a veterinary surgery at the Ilford Pets at Home. I was informed that when police had arrived at the car one dog, a male dog called Hector,  was dead and Yardie was still alive. They had rushed her to the veterinary surgery but she was in very bad condition and it was looking likely that euthanasia was to be recommended.

"These dogs had been left in the vehicle for a period of time, possibly in excess of two hours and the temperature at that time this afternoon was around 24 degrees. At the location I met with officers and their owner who... told me that he was a self-employed security dog handler. I saw in the boot section of the car there were two separate dog cages/kennels. One was empty with diarrhoea towards the back of it. In the other was a deceased Malinois type dog called Hector.

"The kennel was just about large enough for the dog to stand in but there would not have been room for him to turn or move around. There was no evidence of any water in either kennel. Hector was laying on his side with flies around his mouth. There was a strong smell of urine and defecation around him.

"The owner told me that there is an air conditioning system in the van that works from a separate battery and is independent from the ignition of the car needing to be on. He said that he'd left the boot door open but that the dogs tended to 'jump up and down when they heard any noise' and that this must have caused the boot to close, leaving the dogs shut in in the heat. He also thought the fan must have stopped."

Bodycam footage showed police officers rushing Yardie to the vets with blue lights and sirens on, pouring water on her body to try to cool her and carrying her into the surgery. Vets gave her oxygen and fluids and desperately tried to save her.  

In her statement, the vet described Yardie as a 'heatstroke emergency' and said she presented with hypothermia, muscle tremors, an irregular heart rate and a body temperature of 40.3 degrees. She added:

The dog appeared to be struggling to breathe. We applied cold towels every 10 to 15 minutes during the procedure. The nurse also sprayed the extremities with cold water to try and bring the temperature down.

"During the entire procedure the patient presented seizure activity, which was concordant with
altered mental status," she added. "I administered Acepromazine, which I used as a sedative and pain relief" At one moment while we were trying to stabilise her, she began to vomit profusely. The dog again started to twitch and was still presenting uncontrollable movements on the hind and front limbs. All these symptoms made me think it was all concordant with a neurological dysfunctionality."

Vets felt she wouldn't recover and sought permission from her owner to put Yardie to sleep.