Warning after dog harasses seal ‘for a good ten minutes’

PUBLISHED: 15:17 02 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:51 03 January 2019

Grey seal pup on the footpath atop the dunes at Horsey beach

Grey seal pup on the footpath atop the dunes at Horsey beach

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A woman has shared her disturbing account of how a seal was left exhausted and stressed after being harassed by a dog.

Grey seal pup on the footpath atop the dunes at Horsey beachGrey seal pup on the footpath atop the dunes at Horsey beach

Summer Clarke, 27, of Newnham Green, said she witnessed the upsetting scene at Gorleston today, Wednesday, and is urging people to follow advice to keep dogs on leads and to back away.

Mrs Clarke, a singer who holds a degree in marine biology and represents Gorleston beach as a part of Surfers Against Sewage said she was keen to remind the public to keep a safe distance.

She said: “I want people to be aware of the stress they may cause by approaching seals during the winter months.

“I witnessed this morning on Gorleston beach, just before 9am, a very foolish man letting his dog harass a seal and getting too close to it.

“He himself was yelling at the dog to get away from it, though he had no control and made the situation worse.

“The exhausted seal was stressed and forced to retreated to the water.”

She said the dog harassed the seal “for a good 10 minutes.”

Common greys come to the Norfolk coast during the winter months from November to late January to give birth with the main colony being at Horsey and Winterton further north.

She said there were many witnesses adding: “The seal looked very tired and was threatening both the man and dog because they were so close, inches away. “Seals are very sensitive, disturbance interrupts their daily routine and uses up vital energy.

“I encourage dog walkers to take responsibility and put their dogs on leads if they see a seal ahead of them before an incident could happen.

“The public should give seals plenty of space.

“If a seal looks up and around, it is disturbed - the right thing to do is back away.

“They need quiet and space, especially if they are pregnant.”

The last seal count at Horsey revealed there were 706 adults on the beach and 1,038 pups bringing the total this year to 2,034 - 209 up on last season.

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