Owner hits back at claims dogs were left sweltering in hot car in Sleaford town centre

One of the muzzled Staffordshire bull terriers photographed by Jade Doherty in the car in Southgate.
One of the muzzled Staffordshire bull terriers photographed by Jade Doherty in the car in Southgate.

A woman has hit back at critics who claimed she left her two dogs alone in a hot car in Sleaford town centre for up to two hours.

Jade Doherty and Kirsty Macpherson, who work at the Silver Spoon cafe in Southgate spotted the two Staffordshire bull terrier dogs in a black Chrysler parked in a disabled bay outside and became concerned for their welfare when owners did not return after a few minutes and midday temperatures soared.

Jade said they were first seen at around 12noon on Monday and the owners did not return until about 2pm, by which time the police had been called as jade tried to pass water to the dogs through a small opening in the window.

A Facebook post about the incident sparked outrage among animal lovers locally, but the owner of the dogs, Leighonah McCaffery, has contacted The Standard responding to the allegations, saying she did nothing wrong.

Ms McCaffery insists the dogs were not left for two hours without water, explaining: "We had come back to the car and gave them water.

"If they had bothered to look instead of wrecking my disabled car, they would have noticed that the door was unlocked."

It had also been suggested that the dogs had been seen locked in the car again in town, but ms McCaffery countered: "On Monday evening, both of our dogs were sitting in our front room, not being seen in Sleaford on their own unless they drove the car themselves.

"The RSPCA are welcome to check my dogs at anytime they wish to."

She continued: "Yes as I said, my dogs were left in the car. My eldest always sits in the foot well and waits for us. To say that she could hardly move is rubbish as she will not go near to people, only us, and she was absolutely fine when we went to the car by jumping over the seat and wagging her tail at us and our other Staffie is a puppy who has the muzzle on because she chews and she was wagging her tail at us. She also loves fuss so when people are around the car, she will try and get to them.

"When we went to the car, if any of our dogs were in distress then surely they would not be wagging their tails at us. Water is always carried in my car for my dogs at all times so they are never without a drink, no matter what the weather."

Jade had told the Standard that she saw no water left for the dogs and the windows were barely open. She said: "What little gap there was, was covered with wind deflectors which stopped any drafts.”

She claimed the dogs were suffering as temperatures soared and one had a muzzle on, preventing it from panting properly. "One was laid in the foot well hardly moving."

Jade called the police to come and deal with the issue and was advised by the police operator to take the wind deflectors off and used one to tip some water down into the car.

The owners came back at about 2pm, just before a police officer arrived. Jade took photos as evidence and Kirsty filmed the altercation that then erupted on her phone, as Jade said: “They were very rude and didn’t believe they had done a thing wrong to the poor dogs and had only been half an hour. Even the policeman said they were lucky as he would have broken the windows.”

A Lincolnshire Police spokesman confirmed they were called to a report of concern for two dogs alone inside a car. “Words of advice,” were given to the owners.