LYME Regis Coastguards have urged dog walkers to keep their pets on leashes when they are walking near cliff edges.

The warning comes after the team were called to rescue another dog that had plunged 50 metres off a cliff at Cains Folly in Charmouth.

The dog, a King Charles Spaniel named Poppy, was being walked by its owner who was visiting the area on holiday when it ran off chasing a rabbit and fell off the cliff into a steep gulley below. The dog was rescued by coastguards and escaped the fall with only minor cuts.

It is understood the dog didn’t require any veterinary treatment. Graham Turner, station manager for Lyme Regis Coastguards, said: “Dogs have not got the same sense that we have got and they don’t realise there is an edge there.

“Technically, we shouldn’t rescue dogs but the worry is that the owners would go after the dogs if we didn’t so we are protecting them more than anything.

“All of my crew are dog lovers anyway so we would always rescue them, but if we didn’t the owners would and normally what happens is they get stuck or injured and that is more problematic.

“We urge all dog walkers, when they are walking their dogs on cliff tops to keep their dogs on a lead at all times when they are near the edge.

“Dogs are very resilient compared to humans, but in this case the dog was lucky and so was the owner.”

Following the fall, the owner called the coastguards to rescue the dog, which involved abseiling down the cliff face to collect the dog and the owner’s actions have been praised by the coastguard, as they also urged members of the public not to try and rescue the dogs themselves.

A spokesman for the coastguard added: “In this case, the owner kept very calm and did the right thing in calling the coastguards rather than trying to rescue his dog himself. We urge all dog walkers to keep dogs on the leads at all times.

“We want them to enjoy our beautiful countryside but we want them to keep them and their dogs safe.

“If there is an accident and the dog does fall, they should stand back, call the coastguard and don’t try and rescue the dog themselves.”