Miracle dog survives 200ft plunge
Published: January 8, 2007 | 5256th good news item since 2003
A MIRACLE dog was rescued virtually unscathed after plunging 200ft down a cliff at Hawsker at high tide on Friday.
David Sneap of Helredale Road had been walking his Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bella, on his own along the Cleveland Way when the 18-month-old dog went too near the cliff edge to chase gulls and the earth gave way beneath her feet.
He could only watch in horror as the family pet, who was not on a lead, bounced down the sheer drop like “rubber” before landing on a rough grassy area at the foot of the cliff at Hawsker Bottoms.
Mr Sneap ran along the path for help as he did not have a mobile phone and a family living in a nearby cottage let him use their landline to call for help.
Coastguard teams from Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby were called to the scene just before 5pm and had to drive through farmers’ fields in their 4×4 vehicles to gain access to the isolated spot.
The coastguards used the headlights from cars to locate the dog and abseiled down to rescue her – coastguard Angie Nugent from Bay brought the shaken animal back up to safety inside her boiler suit.
Mr Sneap said he had been exercising the dog out of town as he had been getting “funny looks” since five-year- old Ellie Lawrenson was savaged to death by a Pit Bull Terrier in Merseyside.
“She was off her lead as it is the only place they can run. When she went over I thought that was it,” he said.
“She bounched head over heels just like a piece of rubber.
“I’m so overwhelmed. No-one can believe it.
“There’s nothing wrong with her.”
Mr Sneap said he would like to thank the coastguards – who are all volunteers – for their help and praised them for doing a wonderful job.
“It seemed an age. The ordeal was about three hours from beginning to end. I was disorientated with it being pitch black,” he said.
“It was amazing they would come out with all this tackle for a dog.
“I would like to thank them for what they did and how they calmed me down.”
Mr Sneap’s wife, Audrey, said while the rescue operation was under way she was in panic mode wondering whether the pet was severely injured.
“I was waiting expecting broken limbs. She’s got a little bit of a fat lip and was a bit red and sore underneath but by Saturday she was back to normal.”
And Mrs Sneap said she can understand people’s concern about bull terrier-type dogs but wanted to assure people Bella is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and a family pet.
“She’s as soft as washing.
“She would love them to death.”
A spokesman for Whitby Coastguard said they have rescued a number of animals from the cliffs in the Whitby area which have survived.
This includes the rescue of one dog close to where the latest accident happened last year – the dog also survived.
“If it had been a sheer drop she would have been gone.
“The best thing is to keep dogs on a lead,” he said.