Plea for dogs to be put on leads after lamb chased off cliff had to be shot by farmer

The RSPCA says the area was too unstable to carry out a rope rescue. Credit: BPM Media

Locals in Bude have expressed their concern after a lamb was chased over a cliff by a dog and left for dead.

Onlookers say the lamb was run off the huge drop by a dog off its lead on Saturday 3 April at the cliffs near Duckpool Cove, Bude, where it became stuck and badly hurt.

Despite calls to the RSPCA and the Coastguard, local Vicky Davidson claimed the lamb was left in the "bitter cold" to "suffer".

The RSPCA has confirmed officers did attend and worked closely with the farmer after being alerted on Saturday afternoon, but the area was too unstable to carry out a rope rescue.

Two days later a farmer shot the lamb to stop its suffering.

Vicky Davidson said dog owners should keep their pets on leads while along the coast and near wildlife.

"The lamb was crying and bleating for its mum and the mum was at the top and was quite distressed too," she said.

"There was an owner with the dog and we want to highlight that dogs should be on leads around lambs and sheep.

"We wanted to make as much noise as we could to highlight that dogs need to be on the lead and we thought surely the RSPCA should have a responsibility to rescue any animal.

"It shouldn't have been left like that. There are a lot of dogs that go off the cliffs as well so this needs to be addressed."

A spokesperson for the RSPCA, the animal welfare charity, described the situation as "really upsetting".

They said: “Our experienced rescue teams are well practiced in rope rescues and regularly help animals stranded in tricky situations, including along this particular stretch of the Cornish coastline.

"Sadly, recent landslides have made the area unstable and dangerous for teams to carry out safe rescues."

They said experienced climbers also assessed the cliff face and determined it was "too unstable to carry out a rope rescue", adding: “Further attempts were made to encourage the lamb to make its own way down from the cliff, including leaving the lamb for a period of time, and using methods of encouragement.“This was a really heartbreaking situation for everyone involved, including those who witnessed the trapped lamb while on the beach below during the bank holiday weekend, and shows the importance of keeping dogs on leads around livestock - especially aroundcoastlines.”

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