Dog drowns after being swept into Penwortham drainage ditch during heavy rainfall

A dog has died after being swept into a drainage ditch during heavy rainfall in Penwortham.

By Matthew Calderbank
Friday, 21st February 2020, 2:54 pm
Updated Friday, 21st February 2020, 2:57 pm
The Labrador became trapped after it fell into this culvert in Factory Lane, Penwortham during heavy rainfall on Sunday (February 16)
The Labrador became trapped after it fell into this culvert in Factory Lane, Penwortham during heavy rainfall on Sunday (February 16)

The Labrador was swept away whilst walking near the cricket field at Vernon Carus Sports Club in Factory Lane on Sunday (February 16).

The dog became trapped after falling into the ditch which feeds rain water into the River Ribble.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service were called to try and rescue the dog as water levels continued to rise.

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Firefighters tried to rescue the dog, but it had drowned by the time crews had been able to reach it.

Despite their best efforts, the Labrador died at the scene.

A spokesman for LFRS said: "One fire engine from Penwortham was called at 1.40pm on Sunday, February 16 to a dog that was missing in a culvert off Factory Lane, Penwortham.

"Firefighters searched the culvert wearing life jackets for approximately 90 minutes before they unfortunately found that the dog had died."

The dog was recovered and returned to its owners. It is the second dog to have died after becoming swept into the ditch during heavy rainfall.

In 2018, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy met the same fate.

The incident has led to calls for drainage ditches in the area to be 'culverted' - to prevent it happening again.

Culverts are commonly used as cross-drains to relieve drainage of ditches at the roadside.

Doug Gornall, a member of nearby Vernon Carus Sports Club, said: "This is extremely sad and it is the second time it's happened in recent years.

"After the last dog death a steel cage was installed on the inlet to the underground culvert to avert this sort of thing happening.

"We at Vernon Sports Club are having a meeting in the next month with Lancashire County Council to discuss the possibility of culverting the drainage ditches around the area.

"Hopefully we can get a good outcome and in the near future we can get something done to address the problem of these ditches.

"We are at a very early stage of our negotiations with South Ribble Borough, who have facilitated the next meeting with Lancashire County Council.

"We are not sure where it's all going to end up but at least we are in a position to talk.

"We are looking to re-route some of the ditches and hopefully culvert them, this will help us as a sports club in our ambitions to expand our facilities and also to reduce the health and safety issues that exist with the way things are at the moment."

But South Ribble Borough Council said it is the responsibility of the private landowner to secure the ditches.

A spokesman for SRBC said: "We understand that this area is on private land and as such is the responsibility of the land owner.

"We have no powers of entry or enforcement in relation to this unless under Health & Safety although this is more likely to be enforced by the Health & Safety Executive than the local authority."