Man left two dogs to die in hot car after neighbours complained about barking

A security man left his two work dogs to die in a hot car for more than two hours as temperatures soared to 24C because neighbours complained about their loud barking.

Richard Armstrong, 47, left Hector and Yardie – both Belgian Malinois used for security work – shut in the boot of his Vauxhall Astra estate on April 20 2020, as temperatures rose.

Passers-by noticed the horrific scene in Ilford, east London, and called police, who found Hector already dead, and Yardie barely hanging on to life.

Each dog was in a kennel which was just about large enough for a dog to stand, but there was not room to turn or move around, the RSPCA said.

There was no evidence of any water in either kennel and Hector was found laying on his side with flies around his mouth with a strong smell of urine and faeces.

Police rushed Yardie to the vet at the Ilford Pets at Home for emergency surgery on blue lights and sirens on, but she sadly needed to be put down.

In a statement to Ilford Magistrate’s Court, the vet said Yardie was a ‘heatstroke emergency’ and was suffering from hypothermia, muscle tremors, an irregular heart rate and a body temperature of 40.3C.

Despite attempts to bring her temperature down with cold towels, Yardie was struggling to breathe and was having seizures.

When they administered Acepromazine, a sedative and pain relief, she began vomiting and uncontrollably twitching her legs.

Vets felt she would not recover and sought permission from Armstrong to put Yardie to sleep.

Armstrong – a self-employed security dog handler- told police he put them in the car because his neighbours in nearby Plaistow, east London, had been complaining about the noise of their barking.

Video footage showed Armstrong explaining to officers that the dogs had been in the back of his car in their crates with the boot door open and a fan running in an attempt to keep them cool.

He said he had complaints at home about their barking so left them in the car instead.

Police contacted the RSPCA and inspector Kate Ford went to the scene at the time of the discovery to launch an investigation.

Armstrong was found guilty of one count of causing unnecessary suffering to his two dogs by leaving them in a hot car on Wednesday following a trial.

He was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £750 and a victim surcharge of £90.

Inspector Ford said in her statement to the court: “These dogs had been left in the vehicle for a period of time, possibly in excess of two hours and the temperature at that time this afternoon was around 24 degrees.

“At the location I met with officers and Richard Anthony Armstrong who identified himself as the owner of the dogs and told me that he was a self-employed security dog handler.

“I saw in the boot section of the car there were two separate dog cages/kennels. One was empty with diarrhoea towards the back of it. In the other was a deceased Malinois type dog called Hector.

“The kennel was just about large enough for the dog to stand in but there would not have been room for him to turn or move around.

“There was no evidence of any water in either kennel. Hector was laying on his side with flies around his mouth. There was a strong smell of urine and defecation around him.

“Mr Armstrong told me that there is an air conditioning system in the van that works from a separate battery and is independent from the ignition of the car needing to be on.

“He said that he’d left the boot door open but that the dogs tended to ‘jump up and down when they heard any noise’ and that this must have caused the boot to close, leaving the dogs shut inside in the heat.

“He also thought the fan must have stopped.”