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Pooch Leo safe and well after cliffhanger rescue operation

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Coastguard rescue team reunites Leo with its owner

Coastguard rescue team reunites Leo with its owner

Coastguard rescue team working to free the animal yesterday

Coastguard rescue team working to free the animal yesterday

Coastguard rescue team reunites Leo with its owner

Leo the cocker spaniel had a lucky escape yesterday when he became trapped under rocks at the bottom of a 30ft cliff close to Whitepark Bay in Co Antrim.

The drama began when Leo, who was visiting the area with his owners, fell from a clifftop while out walking.

Steven McAuley of Ballycastle Coastguard said the little spaniel had tumbled from the edge and landed in a rock field at the foot of the cliff

"It's quite a drop. Leo was stuck fast," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

But two local Coastguard rescue teams from Ballycastle and Coleraine were able to reach the spaniel, and after a little excavation the trapped pooch was rescued unharmed and was reunited with its happy owner.

"We freed the dog up and got him out safe and well," Steven said.

"No injuries, thank goodness."

The Coastguard is responsible for rope rescue along the entire UK coastline.

Its teams will rescue domestic animals who have fallen to prevent their owners getting into difficulty trying to save the pets on their own initiative.  

Steven added: "The Coastguard don't necessarily turn out just for animal stuff, but the safety of the owners would be at risk if they decided to try to rescue the animal themselves."

The Coastguard told the Belfast Telegraph yesterday: "We urge all dog owners to keep their pets on a lead while walking near to any cliffs.

"If your pet gets into difficulty, do not attempt a rescue yourself.

"Call 999 and ask for the Coastguard."

Belfast Telegraph