Pet dog reunited with owners after rescue in Southwold

Southwold RNLI lifeboat, the Annie Tranmer out at sea. Picture: James Bass

Southwold RNLI lifeboat, the Annie Tranmer out at sea. Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

Dog owners are being encouraged to keep their pets on leads near to Southwold harbour after a Golden Labrador was rescued by a lifeboat crew.

HM Lowestoft and Southwold Coastguard Rescue Teams responded to the call-out. Picture: Natasha Mills

HM Lowestoft and Southwold Coastguard Rescue Teams responded to the call-out. Picture: Natasha Mills - Credit: Archant

The latest call-out for the volunteer crew from the RNLI lifeboat – the Annie Tranmer – at 11.48am this morning (Sunday) meant it was the fifth time they've been called out to retrieve pets from the water beneath Southwold Harbour this year – with four launches in the past two weeks.

And with the lifeboat crew called out eight times in the whole of last year to recover pet dogs from the water, owners are being urged to take particular care around the Walberswick side of the River Blyth in Southwold, and to call 999 and alert the coastguard and lifeboat if a dog goes into the water.

At about 11.45am today, the Golden Labrador fell into the river. With Southwold lifeboat station nearby, the Annie Tranmer was launched, with the Lowestoft and Southwold Coastguard Rescue Teams also called out amid 'concerns' that the dog owner may have entered the water to try and recover the pet.

With three coastguard officers in attendance, the lifeboat was soon on the scene to retrieve the dog and reunite it with its owner on the Walberswick side.

A lifeboat spokesman said: 'Stay safe people and remember the dog will normally find their own way out.'

On February 22 a man and his pet dog were rescued after getting into difficulties about 100 yards away from the lifeboat station – near to where the River Blyth enters the North Sea.

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And later that same day a large black Labrador was retrieved from the water, before being reunited with its owner on the Walberswick side of the river.

Prior to this, there had been two previous call-outs to retrieve dogs this year.

Keith Meldrum, lifeboat crew member and volunteer press officer at the station, said: 'We have now had four launches to retrieve pet dogs in the space of 14 days, and five call-outs this year. That is a lot, and everyone has had a happy outcome, but what I would say is that these dog owners are all responsible and they take good care of their dogs.

'There is a danger on the Walberswick side though as these dogs don't perceive the drop. I think, to an extent, it is unavoidable and dogs are going to end up going into the water – but we would encourage the owner to keep dogs on their leads on the Walberswick side of the harbour.'

Mr Meldrum added: 'We would definitely encourage all dog owners to call 999 and ask for the coastguard and lifeboat as soon as a dog goes into the water. We do not have a problem with launching to retrieve pet dogs, but we want to avoid the situation where people are going into the river after their dog.'

And warning dog owners about the perils of the water in the harbour, Mr Meldrum said: 'Last time we literally got to the man who jumped in the water after his pet just in time. No one wants a tragedy – so never think there is no point in calling 999 and asking for the lifeboat and coastguard for a dog that jumps into the harbour.

'We are always happy to launch and go into the water to recover dogs in the harbour – it is one of the services we are happy to provide. But we do want to stop people going into the harbour after their pet dogs – as the water in Southwold Harbour is really, really hazardous.'

? Have you got a Southwold story? Email mark.boggis@archant.co.uk

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