A PET dog died after it was left in a businessman's locked car on one of the hottest days of the year.
Andrew Cole, 41, of Yew Tree Cottage in Ranmore Common, near Dorking, Surrey claimed he forgot the three-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback was in his Lexus Estate when he went to work.
Appearing at Dorking Magistrates' Court on June 30th, Cole, a managing director of an electronics firm, admitted cruelty towards an animal.
Paras Gorasia, prosecuting, said Cole was about to leave his house at 2.30pm on May 4 to drive to work at Sports Coach Systems, in Curtis Road, when his girlfriend asked if he would take pet dog Henry with him.
The dog jumped in the back of the vehicle, but when Cole arrived at the office he had forgotten the family pet and left it in the car with the windows closed and no water.
The temperature inside the car had soared by the time Cole returned at 5.30pm. He saw the car was filled with condensation and the dog slumped in the back.
He realised the dog was dead and, later, when Cole was burying the pet in his garden he was spotted by a resident who alerted the RSPCA.
An officer from the animal welfare group called at Cole's home on May 6 and exhumed the corpse. A post-mortem carried out on June 11 confirmed the animal had died of heat exhaustion.
Mr Gorasia said Cole had no previous convictions.
Phillip Longes, defending, said Cole was preoccupied with business matters and was suffering with 'flu when he left his dog alone in the car.
Mr Longes said when Cole realised Henry had died he was devastated. ‘The dog had been cherished by Mr Cole, his partner and their daughter,’ he said.
‘Mr Cole was not well and had a million and one things on his mind. He popped home at lunchtime and his girlfriend did not want to leave the dog in the house. Henry was well used to going to Mr Cole's office and was well liked by staff.
‘He parked in the car park, got out and because Henry was such a good dog and did not jump up, he did not see him in the rear view mirror.’
Mr Longes said it was the first time Cole had transported the dog in the car, adding: ‘This is not a case of deliberate cruelty to a dog. Apart from the cause of death, in every other respect the dog was well cared for.’
Two witnesses spoke in Cole's defence to say he had been a caring pet owner.
Magistrates spared Cole a lifetime ban on owning a pet. He was sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £578.50 court costs.
Anna Dullart, chairman of the bench, told Cole: ‘We have taken a fairly unusual view on this matter. Our guidelines state a community punishment for this type of offence. However, we have departed from these guidelines.’
Speaking after the court case RSPCA spokesman Jo Barr said: ‘Dogs can't sweat like we can. A car gets like an oven in a summer and any length of time left in it would be too long.’