Woman’s plea to pet owners after two dogs rescued from hot car in Lakenheath

Sheep dogs wait in owner's car. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Sheep dogs wait in owner's car. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A woman who helped to rescue two dogs from a hot car has said people need to understand it is 'unacceptable' to leave their pets in a car during the summer.

A concerned Lakenheath resident put a post on a Facebook community page on Wednesday evening saying she was worried for the welfare of two golden retrievers who had been left in a car in the town.

Hayley Rolph had seen her friend Sally Hancock had responded to the post and was heading over to help the dogs and said she 'ran straight there' to help in the rescue and to record their actions.

It was around 7.15pm when the pair arrived at the car and one dog was curled up in the boot and another on the front seat.

Mrs Rolph said both were panting heavily.

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The car doors had been left unlocked, one window was 'slightly open' and some water had been left which Mrs Rolph said was warm.

The 37-year-old, who is an animal lover and owns a dog, said: 'It was so hot yesterday evening. When I opened that car door it was stifling. I would not have been able to sit in it.

'They [the dogs] were in a bad way. They were heavily panting and it just broke my heart. I took them out of the car and one was really lethargic.'

The friends gave the dogs cold water to drink and put some on their fur to help cool them down while they waited for a vet.

'When the vet came she said they were borderline heat stroke,' said Mrs Rolph. 'The whole thing was just upsetting.'

Mrs Rolph added: 'I want some awareness as this has got to stop. It is unacceptable. People need to see you cannot leave your dogs in the car. It is absolutely ridiculous.

'There is so much on the news about dogs dying in hot cars. People are aware of it and they are not going to let it go. I would never walk past a car if I saw a dog in it when its hot.'

So what can you do if you spot a dog suffering?

• Start by assessing the animal's condition. Are they displaying any signs of heatstroke such as heavy panting, excessive drooling or vomiting? If they are showing symptoms call 999 immediately.

• If the police are too far away you may consider taking action to free the dog. In this instance you must make sure the police are aware of your intentions and understand that you may have to defend your actions in court. Because of this you should obtain images or record footage of the dog in distress and collect the names and phone numbers of any witnesses in the area.

What does the law say?

The Criminal Damage Act of 1971 states that a person has a lawful excuse to commit damage if 'at the time of the act or acts alleged to constitute the offence he believed that the person or persons whom he believed to be entitled to consent to the destruction of or damage to the property in question had so consented, or would have so consented to it if he or they had known of the destruction or damage and its circumstances.'

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