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River rescue dog owner warns of fast-flowing waters
8:00am Thursday 20th February 2014 in News
A KENDAL man who pulled his dog from the raging waters of the River Kent is appealing for dog owners to take care on the riverbank.
John Walker’s warning comes after his dog almost drowned and he got into serious difficulties in a fast-flowing torrent just above the weir at Goosehome.
He had thrown a stick into the water for his 18-month-old black Labrador, Reggae, while out on his lunch break from a computer course he was attending at Kendal Museum.
The dog was washed over the weir by the strong current and was struggling to keep its head above water and was just bobbing up and down.
“He can normally swim out of there but this time he just couldn’t get out and kept going under and under,” said John, 39.
Seeing his dog struggling, John decided to go in after him, saying: “I had no choice – I could see my dog drowning and I had to help him, no matter what.”
As John battled to pull Reggae out of the water, he called for a bystander to throw a life buoy from its container on the riverbank, only to be told the box was empty.
Fortunately he managed to pull himself and the dog out by getting hold of a stone ledge running across the river.
John was helped after getting out of the water by people who came running out of shops and businesses on Stramongate.
He is now calling for dog walkers to be careful near the river, particularly during the current severe weather, and keep away from the weir.
“If it hadn’t been for that ledge it could have been very serious indeed because I think the water is quite deep under there,” said John.
“I think the council should check more often to see if there is a life buoy, especially considering how dangerous it is round there.”
An SLDC spokesperson said: “Life buoys are not locked away, as they need to be available as and when required at a moment’s notice.
“However this means that the life rings can be taken out of their housings whether for their intended use or not.
“The removal of life saving aids has been a problem for a number of years, however it is increasingly difficult to monitor and to ensure that a life buoy is always in situ.”
They asked for the life buoys to be left alone so they could be available for emergencies and advised people to take care in and around water at all times.