Man whose dogs died, when he left them in the car for five hours to go the gym in Peterborough, appears in RSPCA campaign video
PUBLISHED: 15:36 29 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:37 29 May 2017
A man whose dogs died in a hot car is in a national RSPCA campaign to warn others to take care when leaving their animals unattended in vehicles.
Jonathan Theobald admitted causing unnecessary suffering to all three of his pets when he left them for five hours to go to the gym in Peterborough in August last year.
He appears in a tearful video as part of an RSPCA campaign to prevent similar deaths.
Jonathan Theobald, 66, said he “misjudged the weather badly” when he left three Staffordshire Bull Terrier crosses in his car - the weather was warm, overcast but not particularly hot, the RSPCA said.
However, when he returned to his Volkswagen estate, the dogs - Rascal, Mitch and Daisy - had died.
He said when he opened the back it was obvious that two dogs were dead and the one dog was floppy and loose.
“That was Daisy. I got all three dogs out of the car and spent, I don’t know, I wasn’t watching the clock, but probably at least 30 minutes trying to do CPR on Daisy,” he said.
With his voice breaking, he added: “She’d have been the last to die and the one to suffer most, and that’s painful to think about.
“The weather can change quickly and a car can become lethal, I’ve discovered that the hard way. If in doubt, leave your dogs at home.”
Mr Theobald admitted causing unnecessary suffering to all three of his pets and was given an 18-week prison sentence suspended for two years.
He was also banned from keeping animals for 10 years and ordered to pay £1,900 in fines and costs at a hearing at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court last year.
An RSPCA spokesman said: “It’s staggering to think that more than 7,000 people called us last year due to concerns about animals in the heat and most of these will have been dogs left in cars.
“Never leave your dog alone in a car on a warm day. If you see a dog in distress in a hot car, dial 999.
“Many people still believe that it’s ok to leave a dog in a car on a warm day if the windows are left open or they’re parked in the shade, but the truth is, it’s still a very dangerous situation for the dog.
“A car can become as hot as an oven very quickly, even when it doesn’t feel that warm. When it’s 22 degrees, in a car it can reach an unbearable 47 degrees within the hour.”
If you see a dog left in a hot car:
• Don’t be afraid to dial 999, the police will inform the RSPCA if animal welfare assistance is required.
• Establish the animal’s health/condition. If they’re displaying any signs of heatstroke dial 999 immediately.
• If the situation becomes critical for the dog and the police are too far away/unable to attend, many people’s instinct will be to break into the car to free the dog.
• If you decide to do this, be aware that without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage and, potentially, you may need to defend your actions in court.
• Make sure you tell the police what you intend to do, why, and take images/footage of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident.
• The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971).
• Make a note of the car’s registration. If the owner returns, but you still feel the situation was dangerous for the dog, you may still report the incident to the police.
• If you’re at a superstore/venue/event ask the staff to make an announcement to alert the owner of the situation.
Move him/her to a shaded/cool area.
• Once removed, if the dog is displaying signs of heatstroke, follow emergency first aid advice - immediately douse the dog with cool (not cold) water, to avoid shock. If possible, also use wet towels or place him/her in the breeze of a fan. Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water. Continue to douse the dog with cool water until his/her breathing starts to settle but never so much that he/she begins to shiver.