Grieving dog owners call for warning signs

Beachy Head. Dogs are dying falling over the cliff. November 8th 2012 E45129N'Jo Walters and Nadine Wilding with 'Blue' a Cocker Spaniel

Beachy Head. Dogs are dying falling over the cliff. November 8th 2012 E45129N'Jo Walters and Nadine Wilding with 'Blue' a Cocker Spaniel

17
Have your say

The owners of one of the dogs that went over the cliffs at Beachy Head last weekend has called for warning measures to be put in place.

The couple, John and Carolyn Nunn, were not local to the area and so were not aware of previous cases and cautions about dogs running over the edge of the cliffs.

In a letter to the Gazette, they said, “We are glad to read now that the authorities repeatedly warn locals not to let their dogs off the lead in that area.

“Sadly we are not locals, we were just visiting for the day, and since other dogs were running freely we let our vibrant and energetic dog loose to let off some steam.

“How we regret it now.”

Their eight-month old Labrador Maisie was one of two dogs presumed dead on Sunday, November 10 after being let off their lead during a leisurely afternoon walk on the cliff tops.

The two separate incidents, one at Beachy Head and the other at Birling Gap, follow in a long line of poor pups who have unknowingly run over the edge while chasing rabbits, seagulls and butterflies, oblivious to the dangers below.

Grieving Mr and Mrs Nunn added, “We can only think that our playful dog looked at the edge of the cliff and understood it to be something like the brow of a mound; in her exuberance she leapt over to see what was on the other side.

“We are writing to ask if it might be possible to put signs up for the benefit of dog walkers who are ‘outsiders’ who like ourselves were only visiting for the day.

“The signs could stress that dogs who are not familiar with the cliffs are at a very real risk to jump over the edge.”

It’s been a long-running debate as to whether changes should be made to the natural beauty spot as canines continue to lose their lives on the cliffs.

Cllr Steve Wallis, portfolio holder for the environment, said, “Beachy Head is a world famous landmark protected as part of the South Downs National Park.

“Working in partnership, our duty is to maintain the appearance of the area and we do not believe erecting more signs is the right thing to do.

“It is, of course, tragic when dogs are killed at the cliff edge but I believe we already have the right balance of signage to warn visitors while not distracting from the visual impact of Beachy Head enjoyed by so many people.”

Coastguards are also reiterating their advice about keeping pets on leads, not only for the safety of the animals but also for that of the cliff rescue teams.