A man has pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to three dogs who all died having been left in a car on a warm day earlier this year.
Jonathan Theobald (DoB: 12/01/51) of Lincoln Road, Peterborough, appeared at the city’s magistrates’ court on Wednesday (14 September) where he admitted one offence of causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs by confining the animals in an environment which was detrimental to their well-being and led to their death. He was charged under the Animal Welfare Act.
“Theobald shut his three Staffordshire bull terrier-type dogs – Daisy, Mitch and Rascal – in his car while he went in to use the gym,” RSPCA inspector Justin Stubbs said. “When he returned to his car, two dogs had already succumbed to the heat and gym users spotted him carrying out emergency treatment on the third dog.
“The dogs had been in the car alone for a number of hours,” inspector Stubbs said. “They will have undoubtedly suffered before they died.”
A local vet and police were contacted and Theobald was later found at his home with the dogs’ bodies still outside in the car. The RSPCA were alerted and an investigation was launched.
Preliminary post-mortems revealed the dogs all died of heat exposure.
The case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports. Theobald will appear at the same court for sentencing on 28 September.
The RSPCA and 11 other animal welfare charities and organisations each year runs the Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of leaving pets in vehicles, caravans, conservatories and outbuildings in warm weather. And it doesn’t even need to be that hot before animals are at risk in confined spaces.
“The weather was warm and it was humid but it wasn’t hot that day,” inspector Stubbs said. “Met Office records show it was between 16 and 19C for the period of time these dogs were left.
“No one leaves their dog to die in a car on purpose. But there is no good reason to even risk it by taking your dog in your car in warm weather and leaving it while you just pop into the shop or just pop into your doctor’s appointment. ‘Not long’ is still too long.”