Lifeboat warns owners to keep dogs on leads after Seven Sisters cliff top tragedy

Dog over cliffs at Seven Sisters
Dog over cliffs at Seven Sisters

Dog owners were warned to keep their pets on a lead when walking near cliffs after another canine fatality on Sunday October 6 at Seaford Head.

Newhaven Lifeboat was called to Rough Brow where a dog had jumped off the cliffs at around 12 noon.

Emergency services are called out to attend incidents where dogs go over the cliffs at the iconic beauty spot several times a year. If the pet sees a bird or a ball, it will simply chase after it.

Earlier this year a terrier survived the 55m cliff top fall after chasing a bird - but the miracle dog was the only one to survive the plunge in 23 years.

Emergency services such as the lifeboat and the Coastguard attend these incidents because the owners often decide to rescue their pet, putting their own lives at risk.

Coxswain Paul Legendre said:“With it being such a beautiful morning the cliff tops were busy with walkers, some with dogs.

“If you are walking your dog along the cliffs please ensure that they are kept on a lead for their own safety.”

The volunteer crew from Newhaven Lifeboat headed to the third of the seven cliffs known as the Seven Sisters.

The distraught owner of the dog had informed HM Coastguard at Birling Gap that their dog had gone over the cliffs.

The lifeboat arrived on scene and launched its daughter inflatable boat called a Y boat.

Two crew members brought the Y boat ashore and collected the deceased dog. Birling Gap Coastguard then met the Y boat at Haven Brow on the eastern side of Cuckmere for the dog to be returned to the owners.

The lifeboat then returned to the station, washed down and was ready for service at 1.25pm

Lola the terrier survived the fall from the Seven Sisters earlier this summer.

Owner Clare Callard was out for a walk along the cliff tops about 30 foot away from the edge when the dog chased a bird and plunged into the sea.

Newhaven Coastguard station officer Trevor Cutler said in the 23 years he had been a Coastguard, this was the first time he had seen a dog survive falling from the cliffs.

Newhaven Coastguard is called to two or three cases a year where a dog dies jumping over the edge when off the lead. The emergency service advises owners to keep their dogs on leads when they are near cliffs.

It also said people should never go after their pets into the water or even look over the edge, as the ground can be loose and crumbling.