Barking seal mistaken for dog sparks Sunderland 999 call out

A seal was spotted by the teams when they went to the pier following the shout out. Photo by Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team.
A seal was spotted by the teams when they went to the pier following the shout out. Photo by Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team.

The emergency services launched into action to save a dog from the sea - only to find it was probably a seal.

Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team were called to Roker Pier alongside the RNLI's inshore lifeboat after reports of a dog in the water towards the end of the pier, north of the lighthouse.

A photo of a seal off Roker Pier, taken by the city's Coastguard team.

A photo of a seal off Roker Pier, taken by the city's Coastguard team.

A spokesman said: "On our arrival and after meeting with the first informants, they had heard barking noises and had seen what looked like a Jack Russell in distress.

"After about 10 minutes the barking stopped and the animal was no longer visible.

"Other members of the public spoke to us saying there had been lots of seal activity around the pier.

"With nothing seen from the pier or out to Sea after a search by the inshore lifeboat, it was deemed that it was probably a seal that the first informants had seen and heard.

The RNLI on the way to the call out, pictured by their Coastguard counterparts.

The RNLI on the way to the call out, pictured by their Coastguard counterparts.

"With this information both teams were stood down."

A spokesman for the RNLI team added: "On arrival our volunteers carried an initial search of the area while Coastguards spoke to the first informant on the pier.

"As a result of that discussion it became clear the initial object reported was in fact a small seal whose head has the look of a Jack Russell dog.

"Once this information was confirmed, Coastguards decided to stand the lifeboat crew down and allow them to return to station.

"We are also grateful to safety boats from Sunderland Yacht Club who diverted from a club sailing event to assist with the initial search."

The call out happened yesterday at 12.50pm.