Woman banned from keeping animals after leaving dogs out in garden without water during heatwave

A Walsall woman has been banned from keeping any animals for 10 years after she left three dogs outside without water for hours at a time in last summer's historic heatwave.

Sheba when the dogs were seized. Photo: RSPCA
Sheba when the dogs were seized. Photo: RSPCA

Kirsty Maxine Bradley, who is 32, left her three pets in her garden without shade or shelter while she left the house to stay away from home last July, when the UK was experiencing its hottest summer ever recorded.

A neighbour resorted to giving the dogs water over the fence.

The dogs, two French bulldogs called Ola and Missy and a crossbreed called Sheba, were all suffering from malnutrition and dehydration when they were examined by a vet following their rescue.

Sheba after her ordeal. Photo: RSPCA

The vet's report said: “This suffering would have been avoided if they had been offered adequate food and water. The dogs were kept in an area of the yard where there was no shade or shelter.

"With the exceptionally hot weather we had over the weekend this happened, this could well have been a fatal outcome for the dogs except for the neighbour's intervention in providing some water over the fence.”

The dogs were found to be very underweight, with both Ola and Sheba deemed to be in an emaciated condition by veterinary experts.

Bradley, of Edinburgh Avenue, was investigated and prosecuted by the RSPCA after the charity was contacted by people concerned for the welfare of the dogs.

One of the rescued bulldogs. Photo: RSPCA

The charges she admitted under the Animal Welfare Act, one of causing unnecessary suffering to protected animals by failing to ensure access to a suitable diet including fresh drinking water; and one of failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the needs of animals were met, both cover the period from June 26 to July 19 last year.

It was during this period that the UK broke its temperature record, with 40.3C recorded on thermometers at Coningsby, Lincolnshire on July 19.

The Met Office's summary of last July's temperatures in England said: "The month began rather cool with a few showers, but within a week it was settled and became increasingly warm. Temperatures exceeded 30C in a few places on July 10, but it was the spell around 18/19 that broke temperature records, with the UK’s first ever readings above 40C."

In mitigation, Bradley was said to be sorry for her actions and said she had been struggling with her mental health at the time.

One of the rescued bulldogs. Photo: RSPCA

She admitted leaving the dogs home alone having left the property to stay elsewhere, only returning occasionally to pick up clothing, and said she was remorseful and should have put measures in place to ensure the dogs had the care they needed in her absence.

Alongside the ten-year disqualification, Bradley must also carry out a community order, including 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a 12-week electronic curfew between the hours of 10pm and 5am every night.

She was also ordered to pay £400 costs and a £114 victim surcharge when she appeared before Birmingham Magistrates Court on January 20.

The court also ordered that the dogs, who have been cared for by the RSPCA since they were rescued, could also be signed over to the charity so they can be found new homes.

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