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Handler charged in van death of show dogs

The handler of seven show dogs who died after being left overnight in a hot van has been charged with eight counts of animal cruelty, authorities said.

Mary Wild, the handler, is free on $2,500 bond, according to a report in the Kansas City Star.

Police said Wild left eight show dogs in the van last month after returning from a dog show in Iowa. Authorities said the temperature in the van could have reached 120 degrees.

Wild, 24, had been hired by the dogs’ owners to present the dogs at a show in Iowa. When she returned got home, about 1 a.m. on June 22, she left eight dogs in the van and went inside to sleep.

Seven of the eight dogs died of apparent heat stroke. The eighth dog, a Siberian Husky named Cinder, recovered and went home last week.

The other dogs, all purebreds and mostly large breeds, included a malamute, a dalmatian, three golden retrievers and an Akita.

If convicted, Wild could lose privileges with the American Kennel Club and be banned from taking part in AKC-sanctioned dog shows or registering purebred dogs with the AKC, said Daisy Okas, assistant vice president of communications for the American Kennel Club. She could also face AKC penalties of  up to a 15-year suspension or a $3,000 fine.

Okas said Wild is not an AKC registered handler.

Wild told investigators that the garage was too hot to leave the dogs, so she left them in their kennels in the van and parked the van next to the driveway under a tree. Wild told police she left the van’s door and windows open and had six fans operating to keep the dogs cool.

When she checked on them at 4 a.m., they were fine, she told investigators. About 6:30 a.m., she checked again and found five of the eight to be unresponsive.

After trying to revive them on her own, Wild drove the dogs to a  veterinary clinic.


Comment from Deb
Time July 7, 2009 at 10:08 pm

What that woman did was absolutely inexcusable and horrendous but what kind of pet guardians send their “beloved” dogs in a van with a stranger to be shown?! That is unconscionable.

Comment from DSLady
Time July 20, 2009 at 12:13 am

Mary Wild isn’t exactly a “stranger” to a lot of the people in the conformation dog world. Also, dogs staying to be conditioned and shown by professional handlers has been the norm for decades.

I must agree that it was a completely irresponsible act. If it was too hot in the garage, whatever made her feel like a van and a few fans would be any better?

Comment from Di
Time August 5, 2009 at 11:01 am

Isn’t anyone worried that she will be allowed to plea this down to next to nothing? Write to the Prosecutor and ask that he NOT allow a plea bargain! Here’s a link with the pertainant addresses and emails…http://kinshipcircle.wordpress.com/2009/07/05/seven-dogs-perish-trapped-inside-hot-van/