A West Australian dog breeder is believed to be the first person in the state to be found guilty of animal cruelty for leaving a dog in a hot car.
The dog was left in a car parked at a suburban Perth shopping centre on a 38-degree summer’s day.
Adele Culverwell, 65, of Muckenburra, was found guilty in Perth Magistrates Court on Friday of one count of animal cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act 2002.
The RSPCA stated the case was believed to be the first of its kind in WA and it sent a warning to all dog owners about leaving animals in hot cars during the warmer months.
“This message has been out there in the public domain for many years and some people are still putting their dogs at risk of serious long-term health problems and even death by cooking them in hot cars," RSPCA Chief Inspector Amanda Swift said.
The dog, a two-and-a-half-year-old borzoi, or Russian wolfhound, named Roxy has been cared for by the RSPCA since the offence.
Ms Swift said the majority of West Australians were now well aware of the safety message and people who left their dogs in hot cars were likely to be reported to the RSPCA, the police or to local council rangers.
“Last summer, the RSPCA received almost 600 calls about dogs in hot cars and in the vast majority of cases, the people concerned have been horrified to learn that they could have seriously harmed or even caused the death of their dog and they have vowed never to do so again,” she said.
She said Culverwell was charged after she refused to accept that her actions had caused Roxy considerable suffering and harm.
“We received complaints about a dog locked in a car at the Carousel Shopping Centre in Cannington in December 2012 and the RSPCA inspector found Roxy panting inside a Ford panel van in the car park at approximately 4.30pm,” Ms Swift said.
“The inspector took the dog to a veterinary clinic where it was diagnosed with heat stroke and had to be treated with cooling techniques and given fluid intravenously before being discharged into the care of the RSPCA."
Sentencing is due to be handed down on August 8 2014.