Warning to dog owners after two cliff fatalities

The lifeboat crew were kept busy over Bank Holiday.
The lifeboat crew were kept busy over Bank Holiday.

Dog owners are being warned to keep their pets on leads after two went over cliffs in the space of a week and died.

The advice comes from the Eastbourne Lifeboat team which had to recover the animals bodies, leaving the owners distraught.

The first incident happened last week and saw a young whipper head over cliffs at Beachy Head.

On Sunday - during a busy Bank Holiday for the crew - the Eastbourne inshore lifeboat (ILB) team had to recover another dog that had died while going over cliffs at Belle Tout while chasing gulls. Both dogs were not on leads and the owners were not local.

Bob Jeffery, RNLI volunteer lifeboat press officer, said dogs would often run after seagulls, rabbits and other animals they spot and advised owners to keep them on their leads.

He said, “It doesn’t happen that often but we’ve had two [fatalities] this week.

“I’d advise people to be aware of the cliff edge and they [animals] should be kept on a lead up there. There are rabbits and seagulls up there and it’s a disaster waiting to happen. In one incident the owner thought the dog had survived in the water but that wasn’t the case and she was expecting it to be recovered alive which made it all the more tragic.”

The incident on Sunday was one of three that the team was launched to. It also helped a dinghy sailor in Pevensey Bay who was in difficulties and tipped out of her craft and also stood by when a windsurfer was seen in the sea in the recovered dinghy, causing concern to onlookers. The team later gave the windsurfer safety advice.