Dog dies after falling off a cliff in Cornwall

The St.Agnes RNLI Lifeboat was on a routine training exercise when a report came in that a dog had fallen off the cliff, near Portreath.

The Lifeboat was training in the Trevaunance Cove area of St.Agnes on Sunday 22nd September 2019, when the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre at Falmouth called them on the radio at 10. 46 am, to request they proceed to the West Cove area of Portreath, some 6 miles West of their current position.

The Lifeboat proceeded immediately with Helm, Gavin Forehead and Crew, Paul Kimberley, Lucie McNeil and Paul Fisher, towards the general area of Portreath. Normally the Lifeboat has a crew of three, but as there were four on the boat, and there was limited information in relation to the details of the incident, they proceeded without dropping off the fourth crew member.

On route, the crew were informed by the MRCC Falmouth, that the Portreath RNLI Lifeguards had raised the alarm, following the owner of the dog and their friend approaching them and asking for assistance and guidance to their predicament. The crew were further informed that a Cocker Spaniel had fallen off the cliff, and could be seen lying on the beach, below the 200-foot cliff.

The lifeboat arrived within 15 minutes of being tasked and two crew members entered the shallow, but rocky calm water in front of the beach, and they went ashore. The lifeboat was unable to land, due to the rocky terrain under the water.

The two crew approached the dog, which was near the top of the beach, with caution as an injured animal can be very aggressive. When they reached the dog, it was apparent that it had not survived the fall.

The dog was covered over and recovered to the lifeboat, so it could be taken into Portreath Harbour and reunited with its owner, who was waiting for them there.

The owner and their friend told the crew that they were on holiday and had taken their two spaniels for a walk up a pathway toward the top of the cliffs, and the dogs had been let off their leads. Unbeknown to them, at the top of the initial path, which as far back from the cliff edge, it suddenly gets very close to the cliff edge. The younger of the two dogs was two years old, and when he saw a seagull, he ran towards it. The seagull took flight and the dog did not stop when it came to the sudden cliff edge. Alas, we don’t always see cliff edges and animals are unpredictable. Why take the risk?

The RNLI would like to take this opportunity to highlight the potential dangers of dogs near cliffs or open waterways and advise all owners to keep their dog on a lead, in case there is an unexpected edge, where the dog may fall.

This is the third occasion this year, that dogs have fallen from the cliffs at the same location.

It is hoped that although this is a story with a tragic outcome, the incident may have a small positive for the owners of the dog fatally injured if it makes other dog owners consider the potential dangers to their beloved dog, and it alleviates it happening to them.

The lifeboat was rehoused at 1230hrs hours.

For further information and Dog Walking Safety Advice from the RNLI, please follow this link.


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