A pet owner who lost her dog in a fast-flowing waterway has been talking to a councillor who is committed to ensuring this doesn’t happen again – either to an animal or even a child.
Natalie Pike and her fiancé Jamie, from Broughton , were devastated after their German Shepherd Collie cross Silva slipped down the side of a bridge at the Countess of Chester Country Park and sadly drowned.
The couple, who have a baby son Reggie and will marry this June, want to make sure safety measures are put in place where the popular footpath crosses Finchett’s Gutter.
Natalie, a fundraiser for Cancer Research and TV presenter for Manchester City’s in-house station, said: “We are currently in shock and are deeply grieving over this tragic accident. Silva was a beautiful dog, gentle, kind and fun. She was a member of our family. We were looking forward to her walking down the aisle at our wedding and growing up with Reggie.”
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service sent a fire engine from Ellesmere Port , the animal rescue unit from Lymm and a station manager but to no avail.
Natalie, who also has a French bulldog Sergio, added later: “We have been back to the bridge today and the shock feels even worse. The water looks still and peaceful. There isn’t any signs warning of any danger until you are actually standing in the middle of the bridge and passed the point where Silva slipped.
"You also can’t see and have no indication that there is some sort of tunnel running under the concrete path. This is what sucked Silva in and ultimately killed her.”
Former model Natalie hit the national headlines after cheating death when her car spun off the road in a Boxing Day crash in 2013.
Cllr Houlbrook said: “I have spoken to the lady whose dog died and she said the dog slipped down the side and got caught in the current and went under the water.
“My concern is that residents walk dogs down there. OK, there are notices but dogs can’t read and people are there with children and let their children and dogs run so I want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
She said putting a grate across the mouth of the culvert was ruled out because it could cause a blockage so she would be asking if it was possible to fence off the area.
■ Inspired by Silva’s tragic story, members of the public have set up a Just Giving fund-raising page with a target of £5,000 to pay for measures ‘to make the Countess Park area safe’ in memory of Silva, with £647 generated so far. A dog walk will take place when the weather improves.
Any money left over will be split between Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and North Clwyd Animal Rescue.