A Cheltenham man has been banned from keeping dogs for three years after he was found guilty of two animal cruelty offences following a two-day trial at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court. Hugh Rowland and Renitta Uter acted for the RSPCA and the RSPCA was represented at trial by counsel, Hazel Stevens.
Ian Cockley-Adams, of Sevenhampton, Cheltenham, appeared at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court for on Tuesday 15 May and Wednesday 16 May for trial.
He was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a collie cross breed dog named Wade by confining him in an environment that was detrimental to his well being, which led to his death on 18 June 2017 at an event in Euston.
He was also found guilty of failing to meet the welfare needs of Wade and another collie type dog named Dec, on the same day and location, by not ensuring their need for a suitable environment by confining them in a motor vehicle on a hot summer’s day.
He was fined £1,050 for the first offence of unnecessary suffering and £700 for the second offence of failing to meet the welfare needs of both dogs. He was also ordered to pay costs of £1,582.23 and a £105 victim surcharge.
In sentencing, magistrates said they found that while they accepted this was not a deliberate act, the defendant should have known the likely outcome and was therefore disqualified from owning or keeping a dog for a period of three years.
The RSPCA launched an investigation after an incident was reported to the charity relating to two dogs which had been left in a horse box during a hot day on 18 June last year.
The defendant was at an equestrian event in Suffolk and he had left the two dogs inside the horsebox from 7.30am. He said he had left them with four bowls of water. Temperatures outside on the day had been reported to reach around 29C. The owner said he had checked on the dogs at 9.30am and again at 1.40pm.
But concerns were raised about the dogs’ welfare later that day after the dogs could be heard making noises and barking inside the horsebox. Entry was gained to the inside of the box and security staff found one of the dogs, Dec, panting and dehydrated.
The court heard the horse box felt as hot as an oven when opened.
The second dog Wade was collapsed inside and was unresponsive. The rescuers also noted there were scratches inside the box.
A vet was called and Wade, following treatment at the scene, was taken for treatment for heat stroke (hyperthermia) and despite the best efforts of all involved, the dog’s condition continued to deteriorate. Sadly the decision was made to put Wade to sleep to prevent him suffering further.
Speaking after the case RSPCA inspector Thea Kerrison said: “The dogs had been left in a dark-coloured horse box in direct sunlight on what was a particularly hot day, which would result in even hotter temperatures inside the vehicle.
“The suffering experienced by poor Wade was so easily avoidable and that is what makes this case so sad.
“Throughout the summer last year, the RSPCA received thousands of calls across the country regarding the concern of dogs being put in perilously dangerous situations by being left in hot cars.
“We hope that this case sends out a clear message that leaving a dog in a hot vehicle will not be tolerated by the courts.
“Sadly Wade’s death could have been easily avoided had the owner adhered to this simple advice.
“The RSPCA and other charities and organisations joined forces last year to raise awareness amongst the general public that it is never acceptable to leave a dog in a hot car as part of its annual Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign. There are still too many instances where animals
are being left in sweltering cars, caravans and conservatories and tragically some of them have deadly consequences.
“We would also like to remind people that in an emergency call 999 to report a dog in the hot car to the police, because as a charity, the RSPCA may not be able to attend quickly enough, and, with no powers of entry, we need police assistance at such an incident.”
Hugh Rowland said: ”This was a tragic case of an avoidable death. I can only hope that cases like this will drive home the message that it is not safe to leave dogs in vehicles on hot days. Even opening the windows an inch or two will not prevent the temperature inside the vehicle soaring to lethal levels.”
For more information on what to do if you see a dog in a hot car, please visit the RSPCA website:
Hugh Rowland, our criminal lawyer has successful experience in working on cases involving cruelty to animals. If you need any advice, you can contact him on 01473 298141 or email him firstname.lastname@example.org