The RSPCA has released a hard-hitting video in a bid to reach pet owners across the country and raise awareness of the dangers of leaving pets in cars on warm days.
The UK’s largest and oldest animal welfare charity is launching its annual Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign – a campaign backed and endorsed by 11 other charities, organisations and bodies – with a heartbreaking video of a man who was prosecuted by the charity for leaving his three dogs in his car while he went to the gym. All three dogs died.
In the video, Jonathan Theobald talks about the devastating impact the split second decision to leave the trio in the car has had on his life and that of his family’s since that fateful day almost a year ago: “I got it badly wrong, I misjudged the weather very badly.”
It was a warm day on 16 June 2016, but it was overcast and wasn’t particularly hot. Mr Theobald, 66, drove to his local gym in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, and went inside for his work-out.
He left his three Staffordshire bull terrier crosses Daisy, Rascal and Mitch in the car for more than four hours.
When he returned to his Volkswagen estate, two of his dogs were already dead of heat exposure and he spent 30 minutes desperately trying to revive Daisy before she finally succumbed to the heat.
Other gym users contacted the police and a vet and officers later found a devastated Mr Theobald at his home address with the dogs still inside the car and called in the RSPCA to investigate.
In September last year, Mr Theobald was sentenced at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court to an 18-week prison sentence suspended for two years. He was also disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years and ordered to pay £1,900 in fines and costs. He’d previously pleaded guilty to one offence of causing unnecessary suffering to Daisy, Rascal and Mitch by confining the animals in an environment which was detrimental to their well-being and led to their death.
For more information on what to do if you see a dog in a hot car, please visit the RSPCA website: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/health/dogsinhotcars. In an emergency, the RSPCA may not be able to attend quickly enough and our officers have no power of entry so we urge the public to call police on 999.