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Pets saved in flood disaster

FAMILIES on holiday in the Cornwall were caught up in the terrible Boscastle floods – along with their family pets. Miraculously, none of the pets – or their owners – perished in the floodwater, although it was a close thing for many of them.

The Harrison family from Surrey, who were staying in a holiday cottage, managed to get out of the house themselves when the ten foot-high flood wave hit the village, but they had accidentally left their black labrador, Kassie, stranded in the house.

Luckily, a door had been left open and Kassie was able to swim to safety.

Martin Harrison said: "She swam out in a matter of minutes, we then tried to make our way up the hill but the higher we got, the worse the torrent of water became."

His 14-year-old daughter, Chloe, said Kassie became increasingly agitated once they gathered in the town hall along with other flood victims.

Another holidaymaker described how he spent two and a half hours in neck-high floodwater in Boscastle, saving his family's two dogs. Andy Trethewey, a security officer, held one pet against the ceiling above the water and put the other in a fridge freezer that was floating past.

Mr Trethewey, from Badshot Lea in Surrey, was staying in a flat in Boscastle. His drama began when the river overflowed and began taking cars with it.

Mr Trethewey, a first-aider, was trying to help local residents hit by the water.

"Suddenly I remembered the two dogs in the flat and when I got there they were sat on a chair floating in foot-deep water."

He began moving items to a higher level in the flat but within two minutes the river swept away the shop opposite, pumping more water into the area.

Mr Trethewey explained how he had crawled on to the work surface and put his Staffordshire bull terrier, Boycey, into a foot-high space between a cupboard and a ceiling.

"I held him there with one hand. The water rose to just below my neck, and I thought 'This is it, we have had it'.

"I called Rafter, our Staffordshire-boxer cross, and he paddled over and put his legs on my shoulders. A fridge freezer was floating by and I put him inside." He then held on to the dogs for around two and a half hours, before shouting to a passing fireman, who came to their assistance.

Meanwhile, the Polley family from Essex were in the famous Witchcraft Museum in the harbour when the flash flood tore its way through the village.

April, 15, and her mother Mary, father Brian and dog Edd managed to make their way to shelter in the village hall.

Speaking on the night of the disaster, April said: "We lost our camper van and everything in it. We were going to leave Edd inside it while we got something to eat - but luckily we didn't."

Les Sutton, the RSPCA's inspector for Cornwall, was last night able to give a full list of all the animals that had been rescued at Boscastle and had either been returned to their owners or found a safe home.

There were 33 animals on the list, which included one cockatiel, five canaries, two hamsters and a pet rat.