The terrifying incident unfolded last year in July when Sarah Henniker,33, and TJ Gregory, 28, left their pets in a tent as temperatures soared to 93 degrees Fahrenheit.
Disclaimer: This story contains graphic details of animal abuse.
Two pugs met their painful deaths after their owners left them in a tent for eight hours in temperatures that soared to 93°F. The terrifying incident unfolded last year in July when 33-year-old Sarah Henniker and 28-year-old TJ Gregory from Clacton went camping at Martello Bay Holiday Park in Jaywick, Essex along with their pets, Millie and Tito. During the proceedings at the Colchester Magistrates’ Court, it was revealed that on a particularly scorching summer day with temperatures hitting the 90s, the dogs were tragically "cooked to death," reports The Mirror.
Prosecutor Lauren Bond said that owners Henniker and Gregory went out camping at 9 a.m. leaving Millie and Tito zipped up in the tent. The pair only returned after 5 p.m. and by that time the pugs had already passed away. With the intention of burying them later, the couple wrapped their bodies in a sleeping bag but were foiled by security staff who alerted the authorities after suspecting foul play. Bond noted that both pooches showed signs of heatstroke. Pugs are more susceptible to heatstroke than other breeds as they are brachycephalic dogs. Due to their short, flat faces, they struggle to cool themselves down even when temperatures are not so high, reports The Independent.
Defense lawyer Mark Pearson revealed that the couple had no intention of hurting their pets and that they have previously taken good care of the two. However, he did note that the owners should have returned to the tent sooner, especially when the temperature outside was so high. Sentencing the two, District Judge Timothy King said, "One can only imagine the way those animals must have suffered. It is a horrible way for them to lose their lives." With that King handed both 18-month community orders with 160 hours of unpaid work each. They also have to pay £390 ($508.04) in court charges. Additionally, Gregory was given 20 rehabilitation days and both of them were banned from keeping pets for five years.
Amspokesperson from the RSPCA advised, "Dogs are vulnerable to heatstroke. Their bodies cannot cool like humans, and so heat can become dangerous very quickly. We’d always urge people to never leave pets in vehicles, caravans, tents, conservatories or outbuildings in the warm weather. Dogs—and other pets—can overheat and die if left in a hot environment. Pets should have constant access to shade, cool areas and lots of freshwater."