Adverts: 0161 709 4576 - Editorial: 0161 709 4571
Mail Order: 0161 709 4578 - Subs: 0161 709 4575 - Webteam: 0161 709 4567
Couple escape ban

The RSPCA is disappointed at the sentence handed out to a couple whose dog died in July after being left in the back of a hot car in Wroughton, Swindon.

Paul and Aisling Wadsworth appeared before Swindon Magistrates Court on October 18 and pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering by unreasonably confining dogs in a in a motor vehicle. This subjected the Newfoundlands to heat stroke and caused one to die and the other to collapse.

The court heard that the couple, who live in Crowland, Peterborough, were on holiday in Salisbury when they left the dogs in the back of their silver Hyundai whilst visiting a craft centre. The couple parked outside Bloom Garden Centre, Hay Lane at noon on 19 July 2006, and left the dogs in the back of their vehicle while they visited the butterfly centre next door.

Mrs Wadsworth checked on the Newfoundland dogs at 3pm and provided them with water. But when she returned to the car to check on them an hour and a half-later, she found three-year-old Homer dead and Harry, two, collapsed.

Veterinary evidence described how heat stroke would have affected Homer's central nervous system, causing shallow breathing, seizures and eventually death. It suggested that both dogs had suffered for several hours.

The couple pleaded guilty to both offences. In mitigation they said they had lost track of the time and were usually model owners but this was just an unfortunate accident.

RSPCA inspector Steph Daly, who took the case to court, said: "I am extremely disappointed that the court did not ban the Wadsworths from keeping dogs or order that Harry be taken away from them.

The couple argue that this was an unfortunate accident but any responsible owner should have realised it was totally inappropriate to leave dogs in a confined space for four and a half hours, on the hottest day in July since 1911.

This couple may be devastated by the loss of their pet but the victims in this case are the dogs, one of whom essentially cooked to death in the back of the car, whilst his owners were enjoying themselves elsewhere."

The Wadsworths were each fined £750 for each offence and ordered to pay costs of £1030 each.