Dogs rescued after they are swept along fast moving water

Picture showing fast moving water at Bridge End Gardens, Saffron Walden

High water levels and a fast moving undercurrent in Saffron Walden - Credit: SUBMITTED

People are being urged to be on their guard after two dogs nearly drowned.

A number of adults fought to rescue Buster, a large dog described as a Ridgeback Pitbull Cross by witnesses, when he ended up in fast moving water at the Slade in Bridge End Gardens, Saffron Walden.

He was hauled from the water after more than 10 minutes of strenuous effort by adults fighting to save him, working against the undercurrent at around 11am last Friday (December 11).

A number of the adults were waist deep in the water, and one man went into the water entirely. 

Witnesses feared if Buster had been swept any further into the large drainpipe, he would have been drowned. 

The following day, a second dog had a similar near miss.

Jasper, a cocker spaniel, had been walking next to owner Pam Giddings.

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They had been walking from Catons Lane car park to the cricket field, going over the concrete bridge on Saturday afternoon.

Jasper stepped on what he thought was concrete but was foam of an identical colour which had been churned up.

He ended up in the water, swept along by the current.

Pam frantically shouted and Jasper, five, somehow managed to get closer to the edge. She grabbed his collar and yanked him to safety.

"Luckily the collar didn't give way," she said. "I was shaking like a leaf."

She added: "I spoke to another lady whose dog had gone in. It could have been a child. There are no barriers there at all."

Image showing lots of water at Bridge End Gardens, Saffron Walden

High water levels and an undercurrent in Saffron Walden - Credit: SUBMITTED

Saffron Walden Town Council said they were aware of the incidents and urged people to take care. They do not have plans to add a barrier or warning signs.

In a statement, the council said: "The Madgate Slade is a stretch of water which runs through Saffron Walden, including through Anglo-American Playing Fields and finally ends up in the River Cam.  

"The Slade is an 'enabled' river meaning that it is frequently checked and verified by both the Town Council and the Environment Agency. 

"Ordinarily it is a very quiet stretch of water, often completely dry during the summer months.  During heavy, wet weather, the Slade can become full of water.  

"When full, like any water course, the town’s Slade can become a fast flowing river and care must be taken at this time, more than ever, when near the Slade.  

"The water course is seasonal and does not often present as a problem but when it is full, residents are urged to take particular care in this area, especially with children and dogs.  

"If the water is above the ford, please do not cross;  in this event use the alternative routes being through Bridge End Garden, over the footbridge near the Cricket Club, via Catons Lane or via the High Street."

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said they discouraged people from going into water to make a rescue attempt.

Nick Singleton, operational and community risk manager for North East/West and an on-call crew manager, said: “If your dog is in danger, do not enter the water to rescue it: you should always call 999 and wait for us to arrive and perform the rescue safely with the correct equipment.

“If your dog loves water, keep it on a lead and make sure you have control to prevent it jumping into unsafe areas. Even dogs that likes swimming can usually only swim for short bursts.”