Case Snapshot
Case ID: 2931
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Monday, Jun 30, 2003

Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: James McArdle

Two greyhound owners whose dogs died from heat exhaustion after they were left in their cars say they did not realise they were putting their lives at risk.

James McArdle, 72, and Sally Clark, 43, both deny the charge of causing cruelty to animals brought by the RSPCA after two separate incidents at Mildenhall Stadium in July 2003.

Paul Rogers, prosecuting on behalf of the animal charity, said McArdle and Clark, who were experienced greyhound trainers, should have taken further steps to ensure the safety of their animals in the heat, which was around 20C.

Mildenhall Magistrates' Court yesterday heard how McArdle and Clark, who did not know each other at the time, had taken their dogs to a race meeting followed by puppy trials on July 9.

The court heard that registered dogs for the main race meetings at the stadium were given kennels but the stadium had no provision for unregistered puppies waiting for their trials, so it was common for them to be left in vehicles in the car park.

McArdle, of Lester Piggott Way, Newmarket, said he parked his van as usual under the trees in the car park at 6.15pm. He left his three puppies in the car with partly open windows and water while he took his registered dog to the track.

He said he made regular checks on the dogs every 15 to 20 minutes before finding one of the dogs, Shelly, a two-year-old black and white greyhound, dead at around 7.30pm.

He added: "I deeply regret what happened. I would not deliberately hurt my dogs."

Clark, of Thorrington in Essex, said she left her black greyhound, Tina, in the car with windows open and water while she took her registered dog to the race track.

Clark said: "I did not believe it was hot enough to do any damage to the dog. My dogs are like my children and I would never do anything to hurt them."

The trial continues.


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