COASTGUARDS from Lyme Regis and West Bay were called out on Sunday afternoon to reports of a dog having fallen over the cliff edge near Seatown.
In their first emergency of the new year, coastguard officers were called out at 3.12pm to assist Irish terrier Percy, that had fallen down Ridge Cliff to the east of Seatown.
Access to the incident area was hampered by poor ground conditions, so the teams drove as far as they safely could using their 4x4s, before leaving the vehicles behind and carrying their equipment the rest of the way on foot.
On arrival, officers spoke with the owners to get a clear idea of where Percy may have gone over, and roped edge safety officers were deployed to look over the edge of the cliff.
Due to the failing light combined with areas of the cliff obscuring vision, no positive sightings of Percy were made and he was not responding to calls or whistles.
A cliff technician was then rigged and deployed down the cliff face to try and get a closer look at the mid-cliff levels to see if any trace of Percy could be found. Under torchlight, a pair of eyes were spotted about half way down the cliff in an area of thick brambles and vegetation.
Approaching closer, Percy was heard rustling and responding to his name, but he was not in a recoverable position with the existing rescue set-up, so the technician was recovered back to the top of the cliff.
With Percy’s position now known, the rope rescue system was re-positioned further to the east and the technician was re-deployed, this time descending to the dogs exact position.
Percy was found to be caught within the thick vegetation on a steep part of the cliff, but was very glad of some company and was safely extracted then secured into the teams animal rescue bag.
Both dog and coastguard officer were then winched back to the top of the cliff, where Percy was reunited with his very relieved and thankful owner.
A spokesperson for the coastguards said: “This was the second time in seven days that we had been called to this area for a dog over the cliff, and we ask dog owners to take care and remain vigilant as not all dogs will be as lucky as Percy.
“We however applaud Percy’s owners for immediately calling the Coastguard when they found themselves in difficulty, rather than attempting a self rescue which can all too easily put human lives at risk.
“Coastguard advice remains clear: always keep your dog on a lead whilst walking on the cliffs. Should an incident occur, never attempt a self rescue as you could be putting your own life at risk. Instead, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard who will send a specially trained cliff rescue team to assist you.”