A professional dog walker has admitted causing the death of a beloved pet by leaving it in her van during a heatwave.

Pam Fisher, 59, forgot Teddy the cocker spaniel was in the vehicle and went to have her hair done, York Magistrates' Court heard.

A vet later told the RSPCA the family pet died of heatstroke.

Phil Brown, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: “The defendant was grossly negligent in her duty of care to Teddy. As a result of her negligence, unfortunately, the dog suffered and subsequently died.

“We cannot say how much the suffering was. It was extreme, though for a short time we hope.”

According to the Met Office, temperatures in the shade reached 33C in York that day.

Fisher, of Chaloners Road, Dringhouses, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a dog.

She was banned from transporting or dealing with dogs commercially for three years.

The court heard she has closed her dog walking business.

Her solicitor John Godwin said: “She has no desire ever to keep animals in a commercial context. She apologises to all concerned. It is something she is finding very hard to recover from (the death).”

She was very remorseful, he said. 

Deputy district judge Wajid Khalil said: “There is an enormous loss to the dog’s family and a great deal of distress.”

He made Fisher subject to a 12-month community order with 15 days’ rehabilitative activities and ordered her to pay £400 prosecution costs and a £114 statutory surcharge.

She did not say anything as she left court.

Mr Brown said Teddy’s owner arranged for Fisher to collect the dog, walk him and return him home while she was at work on August 11.

But when she arrived home at 6.10pm, there was no sign of the dog.

She rang Fisher who confirmed she had taken Teddy with other dogs for a walk.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Dogs die in hot carsDogs die in hot cars (Image: PA)

But when she took the other dogs back to their owners, “she had simply forgotten to take Teddy back. Teddy was left inside her van. She carried on with the rest of her day,” said Mr Brown. That had included going to her hairdressers.

By the time she realised her mistake it was too late.

The dog’s owner called in the RSPCA.

Interviewed by an RSPCA inspector, Fisher said she had a standard order for delivering the four dogs she walked that day to their homes. On that day, for some reason, the order was changed, which led to her forgetting to deliver Teddy. She had run her dog walking business for seven and a half years.

Mr Goodwin handed in testimonials and other documents which led the judge to declare Fisher had an “impeccable” character. She had no previous convictions.

The defence solicitor gave no other mitigation after the judge indicated the kind of sentence he would pass.

Mr Brown said the RSPCA had no concerns about the way Fisher looked after her own two dogs.