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Pet owner banned from keeping animals after dog dies in hot car
A pet owner has been banned from keeping animals for five years after her dog died when it was left locked in a car on a hot summer’s day.
Maria O’Neill, of Cherry Avenue, Bury, left her two-year-old Rottweiler cross in a car outside her house on July 6, when temperatures reached around 29°C.
Bury Magistrates Court heard that it was not known exactly how long the dog was left in the car, but when the it was pulled out of the vehicle, it had rigor mortis.
O’Neill pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the dog when she appeared in court on Tuesday, and was handed a 12-month community order and told to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work. In additon to the animal ban, she was ordered to pay costs of £1,494.
O’Neill, aged 59, said she had owned the dog since January, and was looking after her three grandchildren on the day of the incident.
The court heard that the dog had previously escaped from the house, and O’Neill often put the animal in the car to secure it.
A neighbour noticed that the dog named Coco was in the car at around 4.20pm, and tried to get a response but failed.
Later at around 5.40pm, a neighbour informed O’Neill that the dog was unresponsive, however it was not until around 6pm that she left the house and went to the car to attend to the dog.
When she pulled the dog out of the car, it was stiff, with tests later revealing it had rigor mortis.
The time of death was estimated to be 5pm-5.30pm.
Prosecuting, David McCormick said: “It was an extremely hot day, with temperatures reaching 29°C, and the dog had been seen panting in the car by a neighbour, and by the time the defendant went to the car, the dog was dead.
“In my opinion the owner caused unnecessary suffering by putting the dog in a hot car, it is simply common sense not to do this.
“The dog was still when it was pulled out of the car, a witness said they saw the dog panting, and they chucked a ball and there was no response from the dog.”
Defending, Heather Crossthwaite said: “She accepts full responsibility for the death of the animal.
“This is a tragic incident. She is an animal lover, she has had dogs before and she told me it was her best friend. The loss of her dog is enough to punish her.
“She was minding her children for her son, and the dog had been a bit of a nuisance. She had been sorting the grandchildren out and time simply got away from her.”
RSPCA Inspector Lorna Campbell arrived on the scene at around 7.05pm, after initially receiving a call from police.
She said after the hearing: “You just don’t leave a dog in a car at any time. It is a disaster waiting to happen. Being away from the car you can’t monitor or control the situation.
“The thing that was most upsetting thing was that there were lots of other things that could have been done, as the dog could have been put in the house or could have been tethered in the garden.”
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