Dog dies from heatstroke after being left in van by pet-sitters

Betty the bulldog tragically died after being left in the care of Petpals
Betty the bulldog tragically died after being left in the care of pet-sitters (Picture: Gazette Media)

A pet owner was left heartbroken after her dog died from heatstroke when pet-sitters left her in their van on a hot summer day.

Davina Boyes, 34, left her beloved two-year-old bulldog Betty in the care of Petpals while she went to work in July, last year. But when she dropped off Betty in the morning, she had no idea that by the end of the day she would be told her young dog had died. The devastated dog-lover and her husband Steve, 43, received an apology from the carer – who had walked Betty many times in the past – when she broke the tragic news to the family.
Petpals has since paid out £3,000 in compensation to Davina but she said the money will never bring back a family member. Davina, of Guisborough, North Yorkshire, said: ‘You can’t put a finance on something that you love.’
It was every dog owner's worst nightmare. Davina Boyes, 34, had left "healthy" bulldog Betty, two, in the care of Petpals' Redcar branch as she headed off to work. Little did the medical receptionist from Guisborough know, her beloved pet would be left in a van on a hot day at the beach and tragically die from heat stroke. It was a very warm day in early July last year when the tragedy happened. Betty a bulldog, 2, who sadly died of heatstroke. Her owner Davina Boyes, 32, from Guisborough, says she was in the care of Petpals in Redcar and had been left in a van while other dogs were walked at the beach.
Two-year-old Betty was found in the van vomiting before being taken to the vet where she was declared brain dead (Picture: Gazette Media)

‘I feel absolutely let down, we were devastated that happened to our dog and it could have happened to another dog,’ she added.

‘You think that your dog’s safe, especially using a large company we thought “what could go wrong”?’

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

Davina said she believes a group of dogs had been taken for a walk on the beach at Redcar.

After the first group, including Betty, had been walked they were left in the van while the next group was walked.

Davina said: ‘They exercised the first lot and 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 but that doesn’t really matter when your dog’s dead.’

It was every dog owner's worst nightmare. Davina Boyes, 34, had left "healthy" bulldog Betty, two, in the care of Petpals' Redcar branch as she headed off to work. Little did the medical receptionist from Guisborough know, her beloved pet would be left in a van on a hot day at the beach and tragically die from heat stroke. It was a very warm day in early July last year when the tragedy happened. Betty a bulldog, 2, who sadly died of heatstroke. Her owner Davina Boyes, 32, from Guisborough, says she was in the care of Petpals in Redcar and had been left in a van while other dogs were walked at the beach.
Betty’s owners were paid £3,000 in compensation by Petpals who said the van was cooled (Picture: Gazette Media)

Davina continued: ‘We were just devastated. We had to sign for her to be put down, it was heartbreaking because Betty was our family.’

The dog owner described Betty as ‘energetic, funny and cuddly’ and said they have since welcomed another bulldog, four-month-old Barbara, into their lives to cope with their loss. 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.

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‘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.

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.’