Two Labradors left in sweltering car during summer heatwave

Zoe is looking for a new home
Zoe is looking for a new home

A man who left two Labradors locked in his car outside York Hospital as temperatures approached 30C has appeared in court

The animals were said to be lucky to survive after Nicholas Foreman, aged 58, of Mill Close in Bridlington, left them in the vehicle in June, and their body temperatures reached dangerously high levels.

Penny needed cool baths to bring her body temperature down

Penny needed cool baths to bring her body temperature down

What happened at court?

Foreman appeared before magistrates in York on Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to one offence, under Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act, of causing unnecessary suffering to two Labradors, Zoe and Penny, by confining them in an environment that was detrimental to their well being, on June 25 at York Hospital.

He was sentenced to 150 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £300 in costs and an £85 victim surcharge. He was also disqualified from keeping dogs for five years.

What happened on the day?

The dogs were found in this red Kia hatchback

The dogs were found in this red Kia hatchback

RSPCA Inspector Alice Cooper, who led the investigation, said: “We were contacted by concerned members of the public who spotted the two distressed dogs shut inside a red Kia hatchback during the hot weather this summer.

“When I got to the hospital car park the police had already arrived and officers had smashed a window and freed the hot dogs.

“Both the dogs were panting heavily and were extremely distressed. The car was parked in direct sunlight and, although a window was slightly open, it was incredibly uncomfortable inside the car.

“The temperature that day was 29C and the dogs were suffering the effects of heat exhaustion so we rushed them to the vets. Penny needed cool baths to bring her body temperature down as it had reached dangerously high levels.”

How are the dogs now?

Thankfully, both dogs recovered. Black Labrador Zoe, three, and two-year-old chocolate Labrador Penny were signed over into the RSPCA’s care and are now being looked after by staff at York Animal Home - run by RSPCA York, Harrogate and District Branch.

The duo are described as ‘sweet’ girls who are totally devoted to each other and enjoy playing and snoozing together. Staff would like them to find a home together where they will enjoy long walks and agility.

Zoe is very friendly and confident while Penny is a little nervous and relies on her friend. They’d like a new home with older children where someone will be around for much of the day.

“Penny and Zoe were incredibly lucky,” Inspector Cooper added. “Unfortunately, we’ve been called to many incidents of dogs being left in hot cars where the animals have succumbed to the heat.

“I really hope that cases like this will help to demonstrate the dangers of leaving pets in hot environments when the weather heats up.

What should you do if you find dogs locked in a hot car?

In an emergency, if the dog is displaying any signs of heatstroke such as excessive panting or drooling, lethargy or collapse, the RSPCA advises dialling 999 and reporting a dog in a hot car to poice. The RSPCA may not be able to attend quickly enough and, with no powers of entry, would need police assistance at such an incident.

If the situation becomes critical and police can’t attend, many people’s instinct is to break into the car to free the dog. But they should be aware that, without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage. They must make sure they tell the police of their intentions and take photos or footage of the dog as well as names and numbers of witnesses. The law states there is a lawful excuse to commit damage if it’s believed the owner of the property would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances.

Once removed from the car, the dog should be moved to a shaded/cool area and doused with cool water. The dog should be allowed to drink small amounts of cool water.