POLICE and RSPCA inspectors were called to a stately home near Uttoxeter after two dogs were left distressed in the boot of a car — with one feared dead — as temperatures began to rise.
A woman who visited Sudbury Hall on Sunday said she believed one of the dogs had died in the back of the car as the temperature reached around 30 degrees.
Derbyshire Police confirmed it had been called to the National Trust attraction at 2.38pm after two Chihuahua- type dogs where reported as being locked in the boot of a car but by the time officers arrived just after 3pm, the vehicle had gone.
The witness said she reported the dogs to staff and waited with a car park attendant for 45 minutes while the house staff looked for the dogs’ owners.
“I could see four pairs of dog paws in the boot and they didn’t move when we banged on the car,” she said.
“I told staff I would have to leave because I couldn’t cope with seeing the dogs when they came back but I said I would ring. I rang when I got home and I was told by staff that a man came back to the car by himself, behaved aggressively and pushed staff out of the way. He told them he had a fan in the car, opened the boot and one dog was lying panting unable to get up and the second dog was still and wasn’t panting.
“He shut the boot again without attending to either dog and drove off.
“I wish more people knew that even on a cloudy day, dogs die. If it was true that he had a fan and people feel that will help they need to know all it will do is turn the car into a fan oven.
“The family are badly educated about this at best, couldn’t care less at worse. I think Sudbury needs posters in its car parks — they seemed to really care and one female staff member even rolled her jumper up over her arm to break a window when she saw the paws not moving, but she was talked out of it.” Hannah Steggles, Sudbury Hall’s visitor access and community manager, said the National Trust attraction took incidents of dogs in danger very seriously.
She said: “We can confirm that a member of the public drew our attention to two dogs locked in a car which was parked in our overflow car park Sunday afternoon.
“Our staff used radios and searched the site to try to track down the owners of the car and also contacted the police, who informed the RSPCA.
“During this time the visitor did return to the car and left the site. The incident is now being dealt with by the RSPCA.
“The National Trust treats such incidents extremely seriously which is why we informed the police. We work in conjunction with the Dogs Trust charity to warn of the dangers of leaving pets in cars.
“We expect all of our visitors to ensure the safety and wellbeing of any pets they may bring with them.” The RSPCA said it received a report of two dogs panting heavily after being left in the boot of a car from Derbyshire Police. They were told the dogs were left in the car in direct sunlight and with no window open.