Dog drowning acts as warning to parents

A stark warning on the perils of ice was today issued to parents after a dog died having plunged into a frozen pond in an Ipswich park.

IPSWICH: A stark warning on the perils of ice was today issued to parents after a dog died having plunged into a frozen pond in an Ipswich park.

Despite the best efforts of the emergency services, the animal - which was too weak to pull itself free - died soon after rescuers plucked it from the icy waters.

The incident took place in Chantry Park, close to Hadleigh Road, at 8.20am yesterday.

Group manager Martyn Thorpe of Suffolk Fire Service was one of the firefighters called to rescue the animal, which was one of three dogs which had fallen through the ice.

“Three dogs entered the water and two managed to get to the bank,” he said. “But the weakest dog had gone through the ice and hadn't got the strength to get itself out.”

Emergency services were called by the distraught owner, who was thought to be walking up to four dogs on behalf of her neighbours.

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Fire crews from Princes Street in Ipswich sent a water rescue engine to save the dog, using two technicians in dry suits who entered the water using a safety line and broke the ice to reach the stranded mongrel.

Although the pet was alive when it was pulled from the water, it was taken to Highcliff Vets in Ellenbrook Green, where it died.

Its owner was later taken to Ipswich Hospital after the three remaining dogs pulled on their leads and she slipped on the snow.

A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council held the tragedy up as a warning to other dog walkers and parents to protect their loved ones in the snow.

“We are very upset by this incident and our parks patrol staff did all they could help with the rescue,” he said. “In these weather conditions, we would advise strongly that people should be extra careful near any frozen open water and ask dog owners to keep their pets close to them.

“We would also give this advice to parents to avoid a further tragedy.”

Jo Stagg, a spokeswoman for the Royal Society of the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said at least two people had died in the UK last year after ice gave way beneath them.

She added there had been many more rescues involving mainly children or dog walkers, as people attempted to rescue those who had fallen.

“We were very sorry to hear about this incident,” she said. “Ice-related drownings are entirely and easily preventable.

“Although frozen water can look tempting, there's simply no way of knowing whether it will hold your weight and, by the time you find out, it's often too late.”

Have you fallen victim to the weather? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail