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Whanganui dog boarding and day care business sentenced over death of beloved pet

27 June 2024

A Whanganui dog boarding and day care business has been prosecuted over the ill-treatment of a dog called Maisie who died in its care.

Whanganui dog boarding and day care business sentenced over death of beloved pet

Pet Dog School Limited was sentenced today in Whanganui District Court to pay a fine of $7,000, payable to SPCA, and ordered to pay $4,177 reparations to the owners of Maisie.

In November of 2022, Maisie, an adult black Labrador-type dog, was delivered to the boarding business. The company’s owner transports dogs that board with her overnight between her home and the day care facility in her car.

On 23 November, the business owner took Maisie and three other dogs to the day care facility from her home. On arrival at 07:10am two of the four dogs were removed from the car, but Maisie was left on the backseat of the vehicle, and another dog, which belonged to the business owner, was left on the front seat.

Later that morning between 9.30am and 10am, a staff member was asked to remove the owner’s dog from the vehicle, which she did. She was unaware that Maisie was also in the vehicle.

The vehicle was parked in the sun with all the windows up. At some stage during the day Maisie died.

It was not until 4:50pm, over eight hours later, that the business owner discovered Maisie, lifeless in the car.

“To see such utter negligence from the very business entrusted and paid to provide care for animals is unforgiveable,” says SPCA’s CEO Todd Westwood.

“The shock and grief will have been enormous for Maisie’s owners, not only from losing a beloved family member, but knowing that she suffered right to the end.”

A postmortem examination showed Maisie had suffered from heat stroke, or a seizure caused by heat stroke, which resulted in her death.

Her internal abdominal temperature exceeded the maximum thermometer reading of 43 degrees Celsius confirming Maisie would have been in considerable hyper-thermic discomfort before becoming unconscious, which could have lasted from 20 minutes to several hours.

Expert opinion determined Maisie would have felt trapped, panicked, extremely thirsty, distressed, dizzy and lethargic. She would have panted until the point of exhaustion.

“This tragic and totally avoidable incident serves as a stark reminder of the danger of leaving animals unattended in cars” says Mr Westwood.

“Any member of the public who sees a pet trapped inside a vehicle that looks like it's suffering from heatstroke or stress, call the police or SPCA immediately.”

The business owner said she was aware of the risks associated with leaving dogs in cars and described the situation for the owners of Maisie as heart breaking.
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