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Police dog handler 'threw himself from car' after dogs died

A police dog handler being investigated over the deaths of two animals left locked in his car threw himself from a colleague's vehicle after the incident.

Sgt Ian Craven, 49, flung himself from the car and was then declared a missing person, a source confirmed.

The officer was found in Newham, east London, with hand injuries. He was still receiving medical treatment last night, police said.

Sgt Craven left two dogs, a working Belgian Malinois and a German Shepherd puppy, in an unventilated car at the Metropolitan Police's dog training centre in Keston, Kent, on Sunday.

He went to a meeting off-site and called colleagues to alert them when he realised the animals were trapped.

The Directorate of Professional Standards has launched an investigation into the deaths, which occurred as temperatures soared to as high as 29C in the South East.

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A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "On Sunday June 26 at approximately 11am, staff at a Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) building were alerted to two police dogs having been left in an unventilated private vehicle.

"Entry was forced to the vehicle and two MPS dogs, a working Belgian Malinois and a German Shepherd pup, were found in a state of collapse.

"Both were taken to an emergency vet's, where they subsequently died."

It was also reported that Sgt Craven was disciplined over the death of another police dog in 2004.

The latest deaths follow those of two German Shepherd police dogs, which died in a hot car outside Nottinghamshire Police headquarters in July 2009.

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Police dog handler Pc Mark Johnson was given a six-month conditional discharge after he was found guilty of animal cruelty in relation to the deaths of the two dogs.

During his trial in February last year, Nottingham Magistrates' Court was told he suffered from depression and obsessive compulsive disorder, which led to him forgetting that he had left the dogs in his car outside Nottinghamshire Police's Sherwood Lodge headquarters near Arnold as temperatures reached 29.3C.

A spokeswoman from the Dogs Trust, the UK's largest dog welfare charity, said it was "saddened" to hear of the two latest deaths.

She said: "Whilst the cause of death is still to be determined, the charity would like to remind dog owners and police dog handlers that leaving your dog in a car can prove rapidly fatal, particularly during a heatwave.

"It can take just 20 minutes for a dog to die and temperatures can reach over 40 degrees in some vehicles."

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]

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