Four-day station saga ends in stray dog death

Eastbourne Railways station where a stray dog died. August 2014. SUS-140819-161045001
Eastbourne Railways station where a stray dog died. August 2014. SUS-140819-161045001

A furious animal-lover has hit out after authorities failed to stop a stray dog electrocuting itself on a railway line despite days of notice.

Georgina O’Leary, of Maxfield Close, said she was “gutted” after trying for four days to get someone to rescue an elderly Jack Russell that became stranded on platform three.

“That dog died because of negligence,” she said. “It could have been saved. I tried to get someone to help and I feel like the system has let it down.”

Georgina, 54, a cleaner for Southern Rail, said she saw the dog at Eastbourne on Tuesday (August 12), and tried to entice it from the brambles. By Wednesday the stray was holding up trains as it stumbled on the track. Staff trying to rescue it only scared the dog into the bushes, and Georgina’s efforts with a mop and some biscuits came to nothing. Georgina first contacted the RSCPA, but described them as “useless,” claiming they refused to help unless the dog was captured.

RSPCA spokesman Andy Robbins said those who find a stray dog should report it to their local authority: “Different local authorities provide different levels of service however as a minimum they must provide a place where dogs can be taken to.

“Neither the police nor the RSPCA have responsibility for this. However, if someone wishes to report a sick or injured animal, they can contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.”

Georgina then turned to the police, and finally Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC), asking for help through the authority’s stray dogs service.

By Thursday morning the dog had begun to howl, and though a team from the council turned up they gave up after being unable to track him down.

Yet Georgina believes if they had looked harder they would have stopped the dog from being electrocuted. On Friday morning she said drivers spotted the dog on a live rail some distance outside the station. Southern Rail, which owns the station, declined to comment.

An EBC spokesman said, “Three council officers made a site visit but, despite searching, found no trace of the dog and didn’t hear it barking. We advised the member of staff who contacted us that our neighbourhood advisers in the area would keep a look-out for the dog. We are saddened to hear the dog has since died. Anyone who wishes to report a stray dog can contact us on 01323 410000.”