Dog survives 40ft cliff fall from rifle range

Robyn Ventress of Ash Grove, Whitburn and her dog Sasha which was hurt falling 40ft over a cliff.
Robyn Ventress of Ash Grove, Whitburn and her dog Sasha which was hurt falling 40ft over a cliff.
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A DOG had a lucky escape after falling 40ft off a cliff.

Sasha, a Staffordshire bull terrier cross, had been playing with her owner’s new puppy Mika in the garden of the family home in Ash Grove, Whitburn, when she escaped and wandered off.

Rescued dog Sasha  Pic from Neil Mearns

Rescued dog Sasha Pic from Neil Mearns

The 13-year-old pet began to follow a couple as they walked along the nearby cliff tops, but lost her footing near the village’s former rifle range.

The couple contacted the emergency services, with the Coastguard calling in the RNLI and its inshore boat to reach Sasha, who was found in a cove close to Jackie’s Beach.

She had hurt her right hind leg and was laid in a dog recovery bag before being carried up the cliff path.

She was then taken to Blythman’s veterinary surgery in the village, where she was treated.

Meanwhile, members of the rescue team tracked down her owner, Deborah Ventress.

Her daughter Robyn, 19, had been searching the streets and had also headed to the coast.

Deborah, 50, who also lives with husband Russell, 49, and son Mitchell, 16, said: “Sasha is dead friendly and she’d run up to the couple and was running around them, but she doesn’t know the area around there well and she fell.

“She was gone for about an hour and we’d obviously panicked and when I heard she’d fallen, I thought ‘Oh my God, no’ but I was told she was all right.

“She’s got a bit of a gash to her back leg and is on antibiotics.

“Sasha’s still a bit subdued and shocked. She’s been warning by the fire to recover.

“She’s an absolutely beautiful animal, good as gold, and we’ve had her for 12 years from the kennel when she was a year old.”

Deborah, who said the family always walk their dogs on leads and are not familiar with the coastal path, said she now plans to have both Sasha and West Highland terrier and shih zu cross, known as a Weshie, chipped.

Neil Mearns, from HM Coastguard, who was among those called out to the incident at 3pm on Friday, said: “We are all really pleased the dog was okay and that it all had a happy ending to it.

“The dog wasn’t chipped and so the vet couldn’t find out who the owner was, so we had to carry out inquiries.

“We would ask owners to have their dogs chipped and also make sure they walk their dogs on a lead along the cliffs.”

Sasha’s drama is the latest alert caused by dogs falling from Wearside’s cliffs in recent months.

On September 2, the RNLI and Coastguard rescued German shepherd puppy Mia after the dog fell 60ft off a cliff in Hendon.

Minutes later, they were called to a separate incident at Souter when cocker spaniel Archie fell from cliffs.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham