Professional dog walker jailed after spaniels locked in her boot in 29C died in minutes

RSPCA expert gives tips on keeping pets cool in the heat

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Christine Carpenter, 55, was handed a four and half month prison term by Southampton Magistrates Court.

Carpenter was paid to walk the dogs just days after a Met Office issued its first-ever extreme summer heat warning.

Poppy, an 11-year-old King Charles Cavalier and Pixie aged five, died “within minutes”, a court heard.

“Devastated” owners Roy Narbey and his wife Kate had considered Ms Carpenter a friend.

Following the incident, RSPCA officers investigated the dog walker.

Southampton Magistrates Court heard Ms Carpenter had taken the animals out for a walk in the middle of the afternoon in her home town of Ringwood in Hampshire.

Carpenter told the court she had taken the dogs to a stream nearby so they could cool down in the water.

She claimed to have then driven the dogs back in her car to her home and let them out in her garden.

Moments later, she put Poppy and Pixie in her car with the windows open while she had a wash inside her house.

Upon returning to her vehicle, she said she found the pair unresponsive.

Sarah Wheadon, prosecuting, told Southampton Magistrates Court Carpenter phoned the dogs’ owner, Mrs Narbey, and said in a shaky voice: “I’m panicking because I can’t wake the girls up.”

The owner is then said to have screamed down the phone to take the beloved pooches to the vet.

But the court heard minutes after they had arrived at the vets Carpenter was told the dogs were “gone”.

Carpenter had told the vet: “I only left them for a minute, I love them like they are my own.”

Michael Stocken, defending, said Carpenter had “immediately ceased her business and was traumatised herself”

District Judge Anthony Callaway sentenced her to 18 weeks imprisonment and disqualified her from owning any animal for eight years.

He said: “This was an incredibly hot day and any professional should have known that having these dogs anywhere near a car, even with the windows open, was a bad idea.

“People expect their dogs to be cared for, that clearly didn’t happen here… This was a gross breach of trust.”

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Advice on making pets comfortable during extremely warm weather is available from the RSPCA.

The organisation states: “Never leave animals in cars, conservatories, outbuildings or caravans on a warm day, even if it’s just for a short while.

“When it’s 22C outside, temperatures can quickly rise to 47C (117F) in these environments which can be deadly.

“You can also keep your pets safe by using pet-safe sun cream on exposed parts of your pet’s skin, and of course, by providing plenty of access to shade and constant access to fresh water.

“It’s also worth checking pets regularly for flystrike.

“You can also help your pets cool down by putting ice cubes in their water bowl or by providing damp towels for them to lie on.”

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