Dundee council worker hits back at claims he left ‘panting’ dog in van during 24C heat

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A council worker who was criticised for leaving his dog in a van on a hot day has defended his behaviour by claiming his pet was not in any distress.

The worker, who spoke to the Tele on the condition he was not identified, said his pet miniature schnauzer was left alone for seven minutes – not the 20 minutes alleged by passers-by.

He is now under investigation by council bosses after the Tele reported the concerns of a member of the public who took pictures of the dog in the van at Gallagher Retail Park last week.

The passer-by said the dog appeared to be “panting” in 24C heat, according to her own car’s internal thermometer.

A thermometer showing the temperature on the day in question.

She added: “Council workers should really be setting an example to other people.

“The sad fact is dogs can die in a car in a short space of time.”

But the council worker described the concerned shopper as a “busybody” – and downplayed advice from the Scottish SPCA as “their opinion”.

He said: “At the end of the day the dog was left by itself for seven minutes while I was in M&S. Car thermometers are notoriously inaccurate. It was 16C that day.

“I had a fan on him and there was plenty of water for him. People leave their dogs in the car all the time. If it’s that much of an issue they should be changing the law.”

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Superintendant Mike Flynn.

Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn of the Scottish SPCA told the Tele last week that cars can turn into ovens in “minutes”.

He said: “Leaving a window open and providing water is not enough.

“Being left inside a hot vehicle causes dogs to pant to try to cool down and this can lead to severe dehydration and hyperventilation which is extremely dangerous.”

But the worker – who said he has owned dogs for most of his life – said he still believes he did nothing wrong.

“The SSPCA has got its opinion and I’ve got mine,” he said. “My dog wasn’t panting – he was distressed at this woman’s presence.

“If she was that concerned she should have stayed and phoned the police. She was just a busybody.

“This sequence of events has caused unnecessary emotional distress to my family.

“We are kind, loving and caring dog owners – but now I’m under investigation at work.”

The dog in the van was said to be ‘panting’ according to the witness.

Dundee City Council declined to comment when approached.

A spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on individual personnel matters.”