Dog owner ‘should have known’ confining collies would cause suffering
A care service manager has been banned from owning another dog for three years, after one of his collies died as a result of being kept in a horsebox in 29C heat.
Iain Cockley-Adams had denied causing suffering to Labrador/collie cross, Wade, at the Euston Park Endurance race last summer.
But the 57-year-old was found guilty of the offence – and not taking steps to ensure the needs of another collie, Dec.
The NHS care services manager, of Sevenhampton, Cheltenham, was told that while his actions were not deliberate, he should have known the likely outcome.
Suffolk magistrates’ heard from a stable guard and stable manager, who described the oven-like heat from the horsebox, which they opened after one heard the sound of dogs fighting, followed by a “thud”, at 3.45pm on June 18.
Wade was taken to a vets, where instructions were later taken to put the dog down.
The defence said it was wrong to assume Wade died from heatstroke, and not an underlying condition like malignant hyperthermia, which causes a sudden rise in body temperature and would explain why Dec was in better condition than his sibling – found collapsed and struggling to breathe, beyond a scratched and chewed interior partition.
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Solicitor Conrad Gadd argued the noise, damage, cuts found on Dec’s muzzle and shards of wood pulled from Wade’s mouth, indicated the dog had reacted to a sudden rise in body heat, brought on by an underlying condition.
But expert prosecution witness David Martin said the chances of it going undetected for Wade’s 12-year life were “miniscule”.
Cockley-Adams had checked on the dogs at 9.30am and 1.40pm – between inspecting his wife’s horse at intervals during her race.
Although one witness saw a single overturned water bowl in the horsebox, Cockley-Adams said he laid out four bowls, which he topped up, and observed the dogs behaving normally.
He said his actions had been the same since 1996, when he and wife began travelling to events and keeping dogs in the horsebox.
Prosecutor Hazel Stevens said: “No one is suggesting this was deliberate, but it was a careless.
“Reasonable steps were not taken to protect these dogs.”
Magistrates banned Cockley-Adams from keeping another dog for three years, but did not order the seizure of Dec.
He was fined £1,750 and ordered to pay £1582.23 in court costs.