Man Sentenced After Dog Left in Parked Car Dies

Man Sentenced After Dog Left in Parked Car Dies

A 43 year old man has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and was sentenced in Perth Magistrates Court today. The charge relates to his dog, Bully, a bull mastiff, who died after being left in a parked car in Balga in January this year.

The man was sentenced to a 10-month community based order with programme and supervision requirements, and an additional 100 hours of community service. He is also required to pay legal costs of $1,383.42.

In the past year, RSPCA WA has received about 750 reports of dogs left in parked cars. Even on moderately cool days, the temperature inside a vehicle can be 20-30 degrees hotter than outside, and animals left in parked cars can suffer from heat stroke which can be fatal.

On January 17, 2018, an RSPCA Inspector responded to a call from passers-by, who had seen the dog panting inside the car, parked on the verge in Fletching Street in Balga. One of the people was a trainee veterinary nurse, who began to administer first aid as soon as possible. Sadly, despite her best efforts, and those of other witnesses, the dog passed away.

The weather on that day was cloudy. The temperature around the time that the dog was in the car (approximately 11am-1pm) ranged from 23.6C to 26.2C, with relative humidity ranging from 93% to 82% over the same period.

Comments attributed to RSPCA WA Chief Inspector Amanda Swift:

“Today’s outcome sends a strong message: The choices you make about your animals can be unintentionally fatal.

“Bully’s case demonstrates that even on cooler, overcast days, it is very dangerous to leave your dog unattended in a parked car. Dogs cannot regulate their body temperature like humans can, and the temperature inside a parked car can quickly climb to 20 degrees or more than the outside temperature. 

“If you see a dog in distress inside a parked car, call for help – speak to shopping centre management to page the owner, call the RSPCA Cruelty line on 1300 278 3589 or call Police.

“We hope today’s outcome will make people sit up and take notice. Making the choice to leave your dog unattended in a parked car can cause distress to your dog and can have fatal consequences. If you love your pet, just don’t do it. 

“Today’s outcome shows that you can still be guilty of an offence even if you love your dog and think you’re doing the right thing.”

Thanks to law firm Minter Ellison and Barrister, Sarah Oliver for generously assisting Chief Inspector Swift on a pro bono basis in this matter.

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