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Coastguard warns owners of dog cliff danger

THE COASTGUARD Service has issued a warning to remind dog owners of the risks not only to their dogs but also to themselves, when not keeping their dogs on leads by cliff edges.

Portland Coastguard last week carried out three serious dog rescues on the Dorset coast within 24 hours, all where the dogs have gone over the cliff and needed rescuing. The first incident was at Burton Bradstock, near Bridport, where West Bay Coastguard Rescue team were on scene and stretchered the dog, a Border Collie named Ben, owned by Kay Clarke, 50, to safety. The second incident was at Old Harry Rocks at Swanage and the Swanage Coastguard Rescue team were on scene as well as a lifeboat and vet. The third incident was at Seatown and West Bay Coastguard Rescue team were on scene.

Ros Evans, Watch Manager, Portland Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre, said: ‘The Coastguard is always happy to attend an incident where an animal needs assistance if it has gone over the cliff as we would not want its owner to put themselves at risk, and then have to rescue not only the dog but the owner too.

‘However, these three incidents have required a large number of volunteers to assist with the rescue, and we must urge the public most strongly to put their dogs on leads when by the cliff edge, so as to avoid any incident occurring. For good safety advice you can always look at our website or contact your local Coastguard Station.’

In another incident last week, the Isle of Man Coastguard rescue team, based at Douglas was called out after a dog fell down cliffs at Marine Drive. The dog described as a ‘Jack Russell’ fell after running off to chase a rabbit, was unharmed by the experience and returned to its owner.

For safety advice see the Coastguard website - www.mcga.gov.uk