Monday, August 15, 2011

Ottawa Humane Society acclaims first conviction after dogs left sweltering in hot car

The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) is applauding the first provincial conviction and sentencing of a case involving dogs being left in locked hot cars.

On August 11, Mehrbanoo Hejri Mashahad pled guilty to charges of causing distress to an animal under the Ontario SPCA Act and was sentenced to a $200 fine and one year’s probation for leaving her two five-month old poodles locked in her car for 36 minutes while she went shopping. The outside temperature was 27 degrees. The inside temperature of the vehicle, taken by an OHS Rescue and Investigations Services agent, registered 44 degrees.

Mashahad unlocked the car when police tracked her down inside the store. Both dogs were in distress, running from door to door in the car in an attempt to escape. They recovered after Ottawa Police Services and OHS Rescue and Investigations Services arrived, rehydrated them with water, and provided shelter within the OHS air-conditioned vehicle.

“This is an extremely important case, not only because it’s the first conviction of its type under the provincial laws, but because it sends a message to the community that this cruelty is illegal and will not be tolerated.” said Bruce Roney, OHS Executive Director. “Temperatures inside a car can cause life-threatening damage to an animal in minutes. If we need to break into a car to rescue an animal, charges will be laid.”

In July, the OHS received 10% more complaints of dogs left in hot cars than it did over the same month in 2010. There are four additional cases of similar charges pending. The maximum fine is $60,000 and a maximum of two years in jail.

Although legally mandated to enforce the animal cruelty provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada and the Ontario SPCA Act, the OHS does not receive any government funding or funding from any animal welfare group to perform this essential work.

To donate to our rescue efforts, click here.

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