Warning to dog owners after series of rescues near Southwold harbour

A dog which fell into the river at Southwold recovers after being rescued by the lifeboat crew.

A dog which fell into the river at Southwold recovers after being rescued by the lifeboat crew. - Credit: Archant

Dog owners have been warned to keep their pets on leads near Southwold harbour after lifeboat crews were called to carry out a series of rescues.

Already this year, Southwold Coastguard Rescue Team has been called to nearly as many shouts as in the whole of 2015.

The volunteer crew from the RNLI lifeboat, the Annie Tranmer, has been called out seven times this year compared with eight launches in 2015 – with many of those to rescue stricken dogs and owners that have tried to go in and save them.

The most common area for dogs to fall into the water has been the Walberswick side of the harbour, near the mouth of the River Blyth.

Crew member Keith Meldrum said: 'Dogs do not seem to be able to perceive the edge and unfortunately fall in the water. I think what happens is the dog bolts after a seagull, as only dogs can do, and the lead is pulled from the owners' grasp.'

Mr Meldrum explained the rescuing of dogs has become common practice for the lifeboat crew over the past 10 years, particularly in the stretch of water directly opposite Southwold Lifeboat Station.

Mr Meldrum explained busy periods are good for crew morale and enable new crew members to put their training into practice. He added: 'The best advice I can give is to keep dogs on leads at all times.

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'If your dog does fall into the water, the first thing you should do is call 999 and ask for the coastguard.

'In order to prevent these incidents, a possible option could be to have curved metal fencing, like those seen on the Southwold side of the harbour at the car park.'

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