Police dogs die in hot car

We just got a call from a reader tipping us off to this terrible story. A quick Internet search showed the Daily Mail already have it. What a tragedy. You count on the police being sensible, but even they can mess up. Those poor dogs, what a terrible way to die. Please keep you dogs cool and safe.

Two police dogs died yesterday after they were left in their handlers' car on the hottest day of the year.

The German shepherds were found dead in the vehicle parked outside Nottinghamshire Police headquarters.

It is unclear how long the dogs had been left in temperatures of up to 29C (84F). The RSPCA said temperatures inside the car could have reached 47C (116F).

The police dog handler was off duty but had called into the HQ at Sherwood Lodge, in Arnold.

Police refused to confirm what type of vehicle was involved.

The RSPCA has launched an investigation and the incident has also been reported to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. No-one has been suspended.

Nottinghamshire's Assistant Chief Constable Peter Davies said: 'This is a tragic incident and we value the important work our police dogs carry out on a daily basis.

'That is why we swiftly reported this incident to the RSPCA and we will be working with them very closely.'

Nottinghamshire vet Andrew Wilson told the BBC: 'Dehydration would have been a big factor. They wouldn't be able to cool themselves because panting wouldn't be effective any more, there would be no evaporation from the tongue.

'As the core temperature rose as a result of that, and the brain temperature rose, the brain would cease to function and various other organs would fail. This happens certainly within 30 minutes.'

Nottinghamshire Police Authority has asked the force for a guarantee that action was being taken immediately.

The authority's chairman, Councillor John Clarke, said: 'This is a truly tragic incident. I am deeply disturbed to learn of the deaths of these police dogs, which play such a vital role in the fight against crime.

'The RSPCA has been informed and will, I am sure, carry out a thorough and speedy investigation.

'The authority has asked to be provided at the appropriate time with a full report into the circumstances.'

A police spokesman said: 'Nottinghamshire Police reported the death of two German shepherd police dogs to the RSPCA on Tuesday, June 30, after they were discovered at force headquarters at 2.15pm.

'The incident has also been voluntarily referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

'The welfare of all animals owned by Nottinghamshire Police is of paramount importance and we endeavour to take every measure possible to ensure their well-being and safety.'

An RSPCA spokeswoman warned: 'When it's sunny or warm outside, we would urge dog owners not to leave a dog in a car.

'It can cause health problems and prove fatal. Temperatures can rise to 47C in a car quite quickly and that is enough to kill a dog.'

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, anyone found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal can face up to six months in prison or a fine of up to £20,000.


Anonymous said…
That dog handler must be one of the most hated men in the country right now! What a careless idiot. I cannot believe he hasn't been suspended.
Apparently it is not only in cars; just three days ago I talked to a man who has involuntarily killed one of his dogs after exercise. He usually walks a pair of beautiful, well-mannered Collies, so I inquired where the bitch was when he was only accompanied by the male the other day. Turns out he exercised the two of them, and as always, then closed them into the loo (?!) over night. The dog made it, but the bitch died from dehydration. According to his vet, there was not enough ventilation in the windowless room (no surprise!), and with two dogs heated up by running around in the sun and no water provided ("as they would only spill it, since the loo is so small"???) - the poor dog must have slowly died in there. They got her to the vet in the morning, but it was too late then.
Chapstaff said…
Those poor dogs, how they must have suffered.

Let's hope the investigation gets to the bottom of this & that the resulting publicity gets the message across to others.

I hope the officer didn't look upon these dogs as just tools of the trade. I still haven't forgot the deliberate cruelty of certain Essex police to their dogs, likewise the poor Greyhound who died forgotten in police cells.
David said…
I hope the RSPCA prosecute this incident with full vigour and the officer who killed these dogs through gross negligence will be banned from keeping dogs as would a "civilian". He should not be allowed to continue in his present position.
Sorry to sound reactionary but reading about this made me see red!
Anonymous said…
This would be bad enough if it were a member of the public, but this is a trained dog handler. Yet he doesn’t know better than to leave 2 dogs to be cooked alive in the back of his car on the hottest day of the year. Not to mention the fact it cost ratepayers £14,000to train them.

Those dogs would have given their lives for him (and did) – they deserved better.

I’ve left a message to that effect on the Nottingham Police website, if anyone else wants to.

Lucy King said…
I'm going to buck the trend here - we don't know the full details therefore I think it is hard to fully assess the situation.

Fair enough he was off duty and called in for five minutes, and probably got caught up - for all we know that could have been for something vitally important to police work.

This is being concentrated on so strongly, just because he is a police officer and should have known better, but he has just lost two colleagues despite them being dogs, and I'm sure he feels awful.

I know what he did was wrong, but encouraging people to send mail to Notts police will just distract them from other work that is far more important. Would you rather that they could focus on their jobs, or that they have to read through, and potentially answer hundreds of vicious emails?

After all, although it shouldnt happen, this is a regular occurence over summer. Not all of us have anywhere we can safely put our dogs whilst we nip in somewhere and other than opening the windows and so on, what can we do if the dog is already with us?

I know for one that I cannot tie my dog up outside anywhere without muzzling her because i can guarantee some kid will approach her, and she will growl or snap as she is fear aggressive from being in rescue. Therefore I leave her in the car whilst I go into a shop if she's with me, but I leave windows open and often open my boot, locking my tailgate guard.

I also just want to add that it isnt just cars. My house is very open and exposed on top of a hill and has double glazing without any blinds as our windows are too large for blinds. My bedroom on the top floor can easily get up to 35-40 degrees on a hot day even with windows open. Surely that could kill a dog too if they were left in there all day?

Anyway, rant over.
Anonymous said…
I have to agree with Lucy King as there are so many mixed reports. Firstly he was off duty and it was in a car, then he was on duty and it was a van. Either way it appears to have been a tragic accident.

If the UK continues to have heatwaves like this year in year out then maybe they should start installing air conditioning units to the vans like they already have in the US.
jo siemieniowski said…
DISGUSTING !! the officer should have known better!!
wellie boots said…
"and other than opening the windows and so on, what can we do if the dog is already with us?"

you can take the dog home, leave it in the house and then go back out again. You can run your errand when you are out on other business without the dog.

or, if you are police, you can pop the dog in kennels or take it into the station. it is the dogs' place of work after all, so no probs being allowed in.

Agree with your other points Lucy. The guy responsible has got to feel as bad as you would if it happened to you. From the dog handlers I have met, none of them would wish anything but the absolute best for their dog. We all make mistakes. Some of us are lucky, and there is no terrible consequnce. that is how we learn. sometimes we are unlucky. That is also how we learn. YOu can guarantee he won't do it again, and will tell his mates not to either.

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