POLICE had to smash their way into a man’s car after officers found his dog “panting heavily and distressed” when the animal was left locked in a car in direct sun light on one of last summer’s hottest days.
Roy Paterson has been fined after he was convicted of an animal welfare charge over an incident in St Andrews on July 23 last year – a day when temperatures hit 25 degrees celsius in the Fife town – one of the highest recorded in the area in 2018.
Passers by called police to a car park in the town’s Argyle Street when the dog was seen locked in the back of Paterson’s Volvo estate car as the sun blazed in the car’s front window.
Paterson claimed he had not caused the dog unnecessary suffering as had left the dog a bowl of water, cracked the car’s windows open a few centimetres and parked underneath an overhanging tree.
But police officers told a trial at Dundee Sheriff Court that they found the dog “heavily panting and in distress” when they arrived and had to call in vets from a nearby practice because the animal was acting “aggressively” due to the heat.
A sheriff ruled Paterson had caused the dog unnecessary suffering by leaving it “exposed to excessive temperatures” – and convicted him of the crime.
PC Johnathan Gordon (27) told the court he was one of the first two officers on the scene around 45 minutes after police were first called.
He said: “Members of the public were making comments about the odg – that it was shocking and it was a shame.
“It was agreed to gain entry to the vehicle and we smashed the back nearside window.
“The vet went in to the car to take control of the dog.
“The dog’s collar had a number and my colleague called it and the accused and a female arrived shortly after.
“He was obviously very upset that we had gained entry and said he had done enough for the dog and tried to justify himself by saying the windows had been cracked open and a water bowl had been left.
“He was adamant it was justifiable to do what he had done and stated we should be paying for the damage.”
Paterson (63) of Greenpark Drive, Polmont, denied a charge under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act on summary complaint at Dundee Sheriff Court.
But after a two-day trial he was found guilty.
Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown fined Paterson £250.
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