Guide dog dies in hot car

A two-year-old labrador retriever in the midst of a $30,000 training program to become a guide dog has died after an Association for the Blind of WA - Guide Dogs WA senior staff member left it in a car for two hours on a day the temperature topped 36C.

The association confirmed the dog, named Colette, was "accidently left in the vehicle" on Friday afternoon after the male employee forgot she was there.

It is understood he had returned to the association's offices in Victoria Park and was working inside when the dog died.

As a guide dog in training, Colette would have lived with a puppy raiser, who would have got her used to various sights and sounds, and started basic training.

Association chief executive Clare Allen said Colette was found dead when the man returned to the car after about two hours.

She said the distraught staff member was taken to a doctor for medical treatment and would continue to receive counselling.

"This is a sad and isolated incident that does not reflect the longevity and quality of the guide dog program," Dr Allen said.

She said the association operated under the highest standards, but its procedures regarding the transport of guide dogs in training would be reviewed to ensure such a tragic accident was not repeated.

Dr Allen said the tragedy served as a reminder to pet owners to be vigilant when it came to the care of their pets in vehicles on hot days.

RSPCA WA chief executive David van Ooran said the organisation was seeking further details about the incident.

"The RSPCA has made contact with the Association for the Blind WA and passes on their deepest sympathy during this tragic time," Mr van Ooran said.

Puppies are assessed for their suitability as guide dogs through a 12 to 18-month puppy raising program.

If a dog is seen to have potential, they receive five months of intensive training with an instructor and one month of training with their new owner. The association's website says it can cost about $30,000 to train a guide dog.

The West Australian

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