A dog owner who left two labradors in the back of his pick-up truck on the hottest day ever recorded in the UK has been fined.
Stephen Owen, 66, of High Street, Blakeney, left dogs Kimba and Kenza in a parked vehicle without air conditioning in temperatures of 40.3C in Cromer on July 19.
The dogs were found panting heavily and unsteady on their feet after they were rescued from the vehicle.
Owen pleaded guilty to one offence contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 when he appeared before Norwich Magistrates Court on Wednesday (December 21).
The incident was investigated by the RSPCA after videos were circulated on social media.
Magistrates heard how the two black labrador-type dogs were removed from the Mitsubishi L200 truck in Hamilton Road by members of the public and cooled down with fans and wet towels after being taken into a nearby shop.
CCTV footage from the store showed Owen pulling up at 12.58pm and returning to the vehicle at 1.12pm, four minutes after the dogs had been rescued.
After he came back, he was spoken to by the women who had intervened and asked why he had brought his pets out in such extreme heat.
The RSPCA was made aware of the incident and inspector Dean Astillberry subsequently interviewed Owen at his home.
In his evidence to the court the officer said: “Mr Owen showed me the rear of the Mitsubishi truck he had used that day.
“The rear of the truck is entirely separated from the cab area and therefore received no air-conditioned cooling.
“It was constructed of a fibre glass type material. He indicated the window positions as he had left them that day, being side and rear windows open.
“He also showed me a supply of water which he informed me he took everywhere.”
A vet who looked at the videos of the dogs and gave evidence in the case said: “In my opinion, leaving the dogs in a hot car would have caused them to suffer.
“Within a short period of time the temperature in a hot car can increase quickly and cause severe suffering or possible death cause severe suffering or possible death.
“Dogs cannot sweat, only pant.
“Over a certain temperature, the brain loses the ability to regulate it, and in many cases it ends up in a heat stroke that will lead to multiple organ failure and death.
“Any reasonable owner should know leaving dogs in a car on the hottest day could have led to their deaths.”
Owen was fined £797 and ordered to pay costs of £400.
No disqualification order on keeping animals was imposed.
The court heard in mitigation how he had cared for animals all his life and that the incident had been a serious, one-off error that would never be repeated.