Brave bulldog died from heat stroke after being left in van by dog care company

A brave bulldog died from heatstroke after being left in a van on a sweltering hot day.

Heartbroken Davina Boyes, 34, left "healthy" bulldog Betty, two, in the care of Petpals' Redcar branch before leaving for work.

But she has won a £3,000 payout after her beloved pet died at the beach in July last year, after being left in the vehicle for 20 minutes.

Petpals say its vans are air conditioned and the vehicle was still cool on the carers' return to the vehicle after walking other dogs.

They also say it is not yet clear the dog died as a result of being left in the van.

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But Mrs Boyes told Teesside Live: "We were just devastated.

"We had to sign for her to be put down, it was heartbreaking. She was our family."

Mrs Boyes said she understands a group of dogs had been taken to be walked at Redcar beach.

But after the first group, including Betty, had caught some rays on the sand, the much-loved bulldog was left in a van while the rest were taken for a stroll.

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Her condition was said to worsen and she started to fall ill.

She said: "They exercised the first lot and then put them back in the van and then realised when they were dropping them off she was vomiting.

"They took her to the vets, by the time we got there she was brain dead with heatstroke. They paid the vets bills, sent us flowers, they were very apologetic.

"That doesn't really matter when your dog's dead, I couldn't really give a s*** how apologetic someone is."

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She added: "I'm absolutely let down, we were devastated that happened to our dog and it could have happened to another dog.

"You think that your dog's safe, especially using a large company we thought 'what could go wrong'?"

And despite being paid £3,000 in compensation, Mrs Boyes said: "You can't put a finance on something that you love."

Since losing "energetic, funny and cuddly" Betty, the couple has recently welcomed a new bulldog puppy into their lives, four-month-old Barbara.

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Kevin Thackrah, Petpals director, said: "We have now reviewed the correspondence and investigation carried out at the time and whilst we do not deny that Betty died while in the care of our Redcar franchise, it was not clear that this was entirely due to being left in the van for 20 minutes as the vehicle was air conditioned and still cool on the carers' return to the vehicle after walking other dogs.

"We believe that the heatstroke was primarily due to being walked on a very hot day. None of the other dogs in the carers' charge at the time suffered in any way."

He added: "We are nevertheless very sorry about the tragic outcome.

"A full investigation was carried out at the time and as a result we have included specific heat stroke training as part of our first aid course and refresher training.

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"Mrs Boyes received £3,000 in compensation at the time, however, given that this all occurred some 16 months ago and Mrs Boyes had nothing but praise for the walker concerned, who was very upset about the situation having known Betty well and walked her over 100 times without any incident.

"She also expressed her appreciation in the way in which we handled the matter therefore I am surprised that this is being raised as an issue now.

"I would confirm that we have not heard from her since July 2018 and would have been more than happy to talk to her further about this."

Daily Star Online has approached Petpals for further comment.

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