Police Launch Murder Investigation Into Death of Alesha MacPhail

Scotland is in shock tonight following confirmation by police that they are treating the death of six year old Alesha MacPhail as a murder.

 
Alesha went missing from her Grandmothers home at approximately 6.25am on Monday 2nd July. Her body was found approximately three hours later in woodland that is a 20 minute walk from where she went missing. 

Angela King, Alesha’s Grandmother posted a picture of her grand-daughter on facebook reporting her disappearance and asking for help to find her. A heartbreaking turn in this dreadful situation is that posts on Facebook seem to indicate that Georgina Lochrane, Alesha’s Mother, discovered not only that her daughter was missing by a Facebook post, but that the body of a child had been found. Social media users immediately began asking questions as to how a Mother could find out her child was dead on social media rather than being told by relatives or police. A relative later posted that attempts were made to try and contact Georgina, however details were published by The Dunoon Observer despite Alesha’s Father asking them to remove them. 



This family are dealing with a sitiation that no family should ever go through. They are devestated and need time to grieve and process what has happened. The last thing they need is speculation and questions being thrown at them on social media. 

What people may forget is that this child went missing at approximately 6.25am. It is entirely possible that phones may have been on nightmode or that they did not hear them ringing. The priority for those on the Isle of Bute at the time was to find Alesha. It is very difficult for people who have not been in that situation to say what they would do. Everyone acts differently in certain situations. 

Police are asking for anyone involved in the search in the early hours of Monday morning to get in touch. They would like to find out who was there, what areas they searched and anything they seen or heard at the time. Police also want to speak to anyone who was in the Ardbeg Road area from late Sunday 1st July into the early hours of Monday 2nd July, also anyone who may have seen or heard something unusual in the area. Police are conducting house to house enquiries and there is a substantial police presence in the area. 

If you have any information to share with police, you can do so by phoning the dedicated incident room at Rothesay police office via 101, quoting incident number 0695 of Monday 2nd July. You can also go to the mobile police stations that have been set up in the area. Alternatively, please contact crime stoppers on 0800 555 111  

Guest Post – Heat Stroke In Dogs by Dr. Theresa R. Miceli, B.A., BVMS, MRCVS

Theresa Miceli graduated from Glasgow University Vet School in 2009. She did an 18 month internship at the Glasgow Vet School Small Animal Hospital and now works in a private practice in England.

Summer 2018 in the UK—so far—WOW!!!!

While we might be super excited about the high temperatures and sunshine, our furry friends (dogs especially) most likely are not the happiest.

FACT: Dogs can’t sweat like we can. Therefore they have a very hard time regulating their body temperatures in extremely hot weather.

How do dogs try to cool themselves?
1. They pant. Panting circulates air through the body. Air is cooled through the turbinate system in the nose and also by heat evaporation off of the tongue.
2. They look for a shaded area to lie down in.
3. They lie on cool, tiled floors.
4. They may go lie in a basement.
5. What you cannot see—-VASODILATION. This means that in the presence of heat, blood vessels dilate (get bigger) and the increased surface area of the enlarged vessels helps to evaporate heat from their bodies.

All of those ways to cool down sound like they should work really well. But not in extremely hot temperatures. A dog can pant and vasodilate all it wants, but as the environment around the dog does not change, the panting and vasodilation are ineffective.

What are signs of over-heating/heatstroke?
1. Excessive panting.
2. Thick saliva. Saliva is largely made up of mucous and water. If an animal is becoming dehydrated, the water part of the saliva becomes used up very quickly—leaving the thick, mucousy part behind—and that is what you see.
3. Excessive vocalisation and/or restlessness. A dog knows when something is wrong and may try to tell you.
4. Mucous membranes (gums are easy to assess) may be pale and sticky at first due to dehydration. As heatstroke progresses, the gums will become a bluish to purple or even a bright red colour. These changes are EXTEMELY SERIOUS.
5. A dog may appear unsteady on its legs and staggering as if drunk.
6. Sometimes there can be vomiting and diarrhoea—both may contain bright, red fresh blood. Again, this is VERY, VERY BAD.
7. Seizures, coma, death.

A dog’s normal body temperature varies between 38.5-39.0 degrees Celsius (there will be some normal slight variation on either side of those values). A sustained body temperature of 40 degrees Celsius and above is not compatible with life and will cause BRAIN SWELLING, ORGAN FAILURE, AND MASSIVE INTERNAL BLEEDING. In extremely hot temperatures— like those in a hot car— death can occur within minutes.

What can you do to prevent overheating/heatstroke?
1. Walk your dog very early in the morning and make the walks shorter. Definitely DO NOT walk your dog from late morning to early evening. Sometimes even late evening can be too hot. If in doubt, just don’t walk your dog on a hot day.
2. Make sure your dog has access to a lot of cold water available in multiple places. Offer frozen treats such as frozen dog food in a Kong toy.
3. Make sure your dog has access to CONTINOUS shade inside and outside the house.
4. If your dog will be outside when it is hot, spray it down with a hose. My dog LOVES this game and it means she gets to be outside to play even though we can’t go for our normal walk.

How do you cool down a dog experiencing over-heating or heatstroke?
1. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER USE ICE. Ice causes vasoconstriction (blood vessels get smaller) and therefore heat cannot escape via vasodilation.
2. Move the dog to a shaded area IMMEDIATELY.
3. Soak a large towel in COOL (not super cold water or water that has been mixed with ice) and place this towel over the dog. If you do not have a towel, soak the body of the dog with COOL water.
4. Soak smaller towels and place them under the dog’s armpits and in the groin area.
5. Position a fan (if available) to blow on the dog.
6. Monitor the dog’s temperature with a DIGITAL rectal thermometer.
7. Do not attempt to give a severely distressed or unconscious dog water to drink as they may not be able to swallow properly. If the dog can safely swallow and is conscious, then cool water may be offered.
8. MOST IMPORTANTLY—GET THE DOG TO A VET AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

Some “cool” things to help your dog this summer
1. Cooling jackets. You soak the jacket in cool water, squeeze out the excess water, and then put the wet jacket on your dog. Some jackets have a little picture indicator which changes colour to let you know when the jacket has dried out and needs to be wet through again.

2. Cooling mats. Body pressure contact activates a cooling gel inside the mat so your dog has a nice, cool surface to lie down on.
3. Play water games with a hose, sprinkler, etc.
4. A baby pool can be a nice cooling spot. Never let your dog use a pool unsupervised.

BE SENSIBLE.
Do not leave your dog in a hot car AT ALL FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME. NEVER. DON’T DO IT. EVER.

DO NOT WALK YOUR DOG IN EXTREME TEMPERATURES.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE MODIFIED YOUR DOG’S ENVIRONMENT AT HOME AND OUTSIDE TO KEEP THEM COOL.

IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR DOG HAS HEATSTROKE, YOU MUST SEEK VETERINARY MEDICAL ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY. HEATSTROKE IS A TIME SENSITIVE EMERGENCY. DO YOUR BEST TO COOL YOUR DOG DOWN BUT GET THE DOG TO THE VET!!!!