The co-owner of a dog that died when it was left leashed inside a car says being taken to court over the incident is like killing the animal twice.

Jae-Hak Lee, 21, and Insuk Choi, 20, were each charged with recklessly ill-treating an animal over the death of their dog on Boxing Day.

Court documents say the pair left the dog leashed inside a car, causing it to die.

Yesterday, the pair entered no pleas in the North Shore District Court, where police offered them diversion on the charges.


Outside court, Lee said he was pleased to get the chance to avoid a conviction as neither he nor Choi had any previous convictions.

He was unhappy about the charges being laid, saying: "Coming to court is like killing our dog two times."

On Boxing Day, the pair left their 8-week-old shih tzu-poodle cross in the car for about 90 minutes. They left the window down a little and the dog had food and water, Lee said.

But on their return to the vehicle they discovered the dog had died, so they called the police.

Lee said he felt "really bad" about what happened.

Hans Kriek, of animal advocacy group SAFE, said such instances of shoddy ownership were fairly common. The former SPCA inspector said many owners didn't appreciate how hot it could get inside a vehicle when a dog was left there.