Cliffs warning to dog owners

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The Independent Online

Dog owners are being warned to keep their pets on a lead if they head to the coast to enjoy the sunny weather.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said rescue teams had to respond to 227 incidents involving dogs last year.

Coastguard search and rescue manager Roly McKie said: "The common incidents we see are where dogs have slipped or bounded over a cliff edge because they haven't anticipated the drop ahead.

"Owners will then risk their lives to rescue their dogs and our Coastguard rescue teams often get called out to help."

He added: "Just last month we dealt with a tragic case where a dog went over a cliff in Dorset and sadly died from his injuries.

"His owners had taken him on this walk before so they thought that he would be familiar with the route and remember not to go right to the edge, but unfortunately this wasn't the case.

"We want people to enjoy the coast and this simple measure could save lives."

Dogs Trust chief veterinary director Chris Laurence said: "We would advise all dog owners to keep their dogs on a lead when on cliff paths as a protective measure.

"It can be tempting to let your dog walk off the lead, especially if that's what they are used to and they are well- trained, but accidents like this on coastal paths are not uncommon - keeping your dog on a lead can protect both you and your pet."