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Animal charities condemn Keston police dog deaths

A police puppy from Keston dog training unit photographed earelier this year at Bromley's Glades shopping centre

A police puppy from Keston dog training unit photographed earelier this year at Bromley's Glades shopping centre

Archant

Animal charities say the “agonising” deaths of two police dogs left in a car during the recent heatwave were “inexcusable”.

The animals, a German Shepherd puppy and a working Belgian Malinois, perished after being left in a private vehicle at the Metropolitan Police training unit in Keston on Sunday as temperatures rose to 30C (86F).

The dogs’ handler is being investigated after he allegedly forgot about the animals.

He went missing suddenly after the incident and police issued an alert as they were “concerned for his welfare”.

The officer was found by colleagues some time later suffering hand wounds and is receiving medical treatment.

The chief executive of Biggin Hill’s Foal Farm, Kim Puttock, said: “It is an absolute tragedy that these two dogs died what must have been an agonising death.

“This case highlights the need for all dog owners to be much more aware of the dangers of leaving their pets in a vehicle without ventilation for any length of time.

“In this hot weather, to leave a dog locked in a car is inexcusable.

“It can take as little as 20 minutes for a dog to die and temperatures can rise to above 40 degrees [104F] in some vehicles.”

The alarm was raised at around 11am when officers forced entry to the car. The animals were rushed to a vet but died a short while later.

A Directorate of Professional Standards inquiry is under way and the Independent Police Complaints Commission has been notified.

The RSPCA is also investigating. A spokesperson said: “In hot weather, we would urge people never to leave dogs in vehicles for any length of time.”

In 2009, Nottinghamshire police officer Mark Johnson caused his two Alsations to die after leaving them in a car during a 2009 heatwave.

The offence of animal cruelty carries a maximum punishment of six months in jail and a £20,000 fine.

Mr Johnson received a six-month conditional discharge and had to pay £2,500 costs.

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