Tyne & Wear

Barking seal mistaken for dog sparks Sunderland 999 call-out

Seal Image copyright Sunderland Coastguard Team
Image caption The seal was thought to be a Jack Russell in trouble

Lifeboat crews launched a rescue bid for a "dog" in trouble in the sea which turned out to be a seal.

The RNLI said what was thought to be a Jack Russell was spotted off Roker Pier, Sunderland, on Saturday.

But when Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team arrived, they realised it was in fact a small seal in the water.

RNLI spokesman Paul Robinson said crews only became involved in dog rescues to try to prevent owners risking their lives and going into the water.

He said: "It is a risk, but we will become involved in animal rescues as a preventative measure and indirectly to safeguard the lives of owners.

"These tragedies do happen when people go into the water trying to save their pets and drown while the dog survives."

Image copyright Sunderland Coastguard
Image caption At a distance a seal can look like a dog, the RNLI said

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