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RSPCA slam lenient sentence for death of dog in car

THE RSPCA has expressed its disappointment at what it considers the lenient sentence handed out to a couple whose dog died in July 2006 after being left in the back of a hot car in Wroughton, Swindon, Wiltshire.

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

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.

‘Given that the purpose of the RSPCA is to prevent suffering, we feel a ban on keeping animals and a deprivation order would have been wholly justified in this case and reflected the serious nature of the offence.

Inspector Daly continued: ‘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.’

‘Cases like this highlight the danger of leaving a dog in a hot car for any length of time and I hope it will serve as a warning to other dog owners.’

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