Here in south western Ontario, we’re in the middle of a blistering heat wave. My dogs barely want to go outside long enough to pee, and I’ve stopped taking Bunny to work with me, for the time being (I worry about what might happen if I broke down at the side of the road, and had to wait overly long for assistance).
At just about this time last year, professional dog show handler Mary Wild decided that, rather than bring her eight show dog charges inside her air conditioned house for the night, she’d leave them in her van. Mary Wild lives in St. Louis, Missori, and if there’s one thing that I do know it’s that the hottest heat wave in Ontario can’t compare with the average summer day temperature in Missouri.
Mary Wild apparently didn’t get that memo, because she woke up the next day to find all eight dogs either dead or at death’s door from extreme heat exhaustion. I don’t imagine she was too surprised, because testimony at her trial indicated she didn’t do a whole lot to try to keep them cool.
From the St. Louis Dispatch newspaper:
Aubrey Richardson, 17, testified that she had worked as Wild’s assistant, helping her groom, walk and otherwise care for the dogs. She had accompanied Wild to a dog show in Iowa City on June 20 and 21.
Richardson said that when they returned to Wild’s home late on the night of June 21, Wild said they would leave the dogs in the van because the garage was too hot. The normal routine when they were at Wild’s home in the first block of Kroeck Drive in Arnold was that the dogs stayed in crates in the garage.
Wild put six fans inside the van but shut the sliding van door that would normally be cracked open when dogs are left inside. Wild only rolled down a passenger side window enough to fit through the extension cord that powered the fans, Richardson said.
Richardson stayed at Wild’s house and said that when she went to check on the dogs in the morning, it felt “like opening an oven” when she opened the van’s sliding door, even though the fans were still running.
Her show dog, a Dalmatian named Sky, was one of the dogs that died. She cried when she testified about holding his body.
Wild and Richardson, as well as Wild’s mother, tried to revive the dogs for about 40 minutes before taking them to a vet, Richardson said.
She testified that she was shaken when she heard Wild and her mother talking on the ride to the vet’s office “about how much they were going to lose,” Richardson said.
So, what kind of punishment do you actually get for roasting your client’s dogs to death? Jail time? Big fines? Locked in your own van overnight with a fan for company and no windows rolled down?
Not even close.
If you’re a handler in Missouri, you get probation, some community service – and you have to write an essay saying how sorry you are and how it’s probably not a great idea to leave dogs locked in a hot car.
From the Dispatch:
The dog handler who left eight show dogs inside a hot van, causing seven of them to die, was sentenced Thursday to two years’ probation.
Mary Wild also must serve 80 hours of community service at the Jefferson County animal control center, as well as write a 750-word essay on how heat affects dogs and what she should have done to care for them properly.
Well, shit – that will obviously teach her. This is actually a stiffer sentence than was being predicted – we’d heard she was going to have to write “I will not cook dogs to death” on the court room chalkboard 500 times.
In other news, convicted murderers will now be sent to bed with no supper and no TV time.