Thursday, 12 April 2018

Life's a beach

Just down the road from Hubble & Hattie HQ is the quiet seaside town of Bridport and harbour settlement, West Bay. Part of the Jurassic Coast, and now more recognisable after being featured in the ITV series Broadchurch, West Bay and the surrounding areas are extremely popular with tourists, and while the ageing golden cliffs may be stunning, they can also be very dangerous. 

In February, the West Bay coast guard team responded to reports of a Labrador cross who had fallen from cliffs near Freshwater Beach. When they arrived, they found the dog at the base of the cliffs with injuries to her head, face and legs, being cuddled by her tearful owner: "I know it's silly, but she's a big part of our family."

Of course, our pets are a huge part of our lives, so it's only understandable that, should something of this nature occur, we tend to get upset. This dog had a lucky escape, and after veterinary care, returned home with her relieved family just 24 hours later. Other dogs have not been so lucky ... 

A few days before Christmas last year, coastguard officers from neighbouring Jurassic Coast towns of Lyme Regis and Beer had the unfortunate task of having to recover a two-year-old Springer Spaniel who had died after falling from cliffs at Goat Island, near Exmouth. After performing a rope rescue, officers returned the Spaniel to his devastated family. 

It's difficult to imagine what they must have gone through during what should have been a happy and festive period. Dogs are cherished members of the family, and we must do everything we can to protect them, as we would do any human member of our family. 

Knowing how to be safe on beaches is the easiest way of protecting your four-legged friends: keep them on a lead if you are near cliffs; if there are signs warning of loose rocks or a recent land slip – which are very common at West Bay at the moment – take the necessary precautions and stay away from the cliffs.

Between the 1st of May and the 30th of September, dogs are not permitted on either of the beaches at West Bay; this is similar for most beaches around the UK during the summer season. However, dogs are allowed in the East Cliff Beach and West Cliff Beach areas year round. Though they are permitted off their leads, all dogs must be kept under a watchful eye. The rest of the harbour operates a clean zone, whereby dogs must be kept on leads at all times. 

If the unthinkable does occur when you are enjoying a dog walk on the beach, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard. 

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