A “devastated” family are calling for dog owners and walkers to keep their pups on the lead, after their beloved cocker spaniel - who went missing over the edge of a cliff - sparked a search by hundreds of Islanders.
Two-and-a-half-year-old Bailey went missing near Gronez Castle on Thursday morning, where he had been taken out in the morning for one of his twice weekly trips with the Jacobs family’s dog walker.
“Bailey went with [the dog walker] every Tuesday and Thursday, who would take him out with another group of dogs.
“I got a phone call at about 11:00 on Thursday morning, and she just said, “I’ve lost Bailey, I think he’s gone over the side." I just put the phone down and sped up straight to Gronez Castle, and we’ve been searching non-stop since then.” Cindy Jacobs told Express.
Pictured: Bailey went missing around Gronez, in the north-west corner of the Island. (Image: Google Maps)
Feeling, “…desperate, not knowing what to do, how to proceed and how to get a search put on,” the mum-of-two took to Facebook to ask for help spotting the brown working cocker.
In what was an unexpected development for Ms Jacobs, “…the post just went crazy” and “hundreds of people” turned out to look for the “friendly and approachable” Bailey.
“We’ve had the drones out looking for him over the edges, we’ve had boats going along the shoreline, we’ve had planes, we’ve had scent dogs… The overwhelming support from everyone has just been fantastic.”
But sadly the three-day coastal search wasn’t enough to bring him home.
Pictured: Working cocker spaniel Bailey, whose disappearance led to a three-day search by "hundreds of people." (Photo: Cindy Jacobs)
Searches were called off on Saturday night after three search dogs gave a “strong indication” that Bailey had fallen over the side of the cliff. Now they’re scouring the north-eastern coastline instead for “closure” – and won’t stop until Bailey is found.
“Not knowing is the worst thing… My two girls [nine and 15] are absolutely devastated.
"He was our baby. He just made the house what it was. The house is just quiet, we don’t know what to do with ourselves. It’s heartbreaking."
The experience has been so traumatic, Ms Jacobs said, that, if they do get another dog, the family, "...will never use a dog walker again."
But this trauma could be avoided if dog owners and walkers simply "put them on a lead" and walk them away from coastal paths altogether.
"Even when we were doing the search, you would see people getting out of their vans with six or seven dogs at a time and it just made my stomach turn, because you can’t control six or seven dogs in an area like that," Ms Jacobs explained.
"This is where I kick myself because the dog walker that we were using didn’t do a risk assessment. They obviously didn't understand the dangers of those areas. I’m trusting them with one of my dogs that is more like a child to me, and this didn’t need to happen."
Although "devastating", Ms Jacobs is determined for both pet owners and walkers to learn from her experience.
"It’s absolutely devastating that we’ve lost Bailey, but I want something good to come out of this. I do not want anyone else to have to go through something like this because it’s just awful."
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