A York woman has appealed to cyclists to dispose of old inner tubes properly after one of her dogs drowned when it became tangled up in one while swimming in the River Ouse last week.
Sandra Guilfoyle was at the river in Clifton with her three dogs when she noticed that one of them, Jimmy, whom she said was a strong swimmer, had got into difficulty in the water, reports the York Press.
She told the newspaper: “He was going down. I left the other two, took off my jacket and threw myself in and swam over to him. I was pulling him and he was just going down.
“There was something black round his head and mouth, and his tongue was hanging out. I couldn’t figure out what it was. I thought it was a belt, black and thin. He was a massive dog, but I managed to drag and carry him to the beach and shouted for help.”
Despite her efforts to save him, the dog, whom she had found abandoned outside a shop in Tottenham, north London in winter 2010, did not survive his ordeal.
“I was trying to press his chest but didn’t know what to do. He just died in my arms. He was still breathing and his eyes were moving, and then he was just gone,” she said.
“I was just beyond myself I was shouting ‘not my Jimmy’. A woman came down and tried to help and suddenly people were just there I have a vague memory of that.”
It turned out that the object he had become entangled in was a discarded inner tube for a mountain bike tyre, and Ms Guilfoyle is urging cyclists to dispose of their used tubes responsibly.
“It’s the butterfly effect, everything you do has consequences,” she said. “Somebody’s utter disregard for humans ended up causing so much pain and suffering.
“Yesterday when we got there there were teenagers splashing in the water and it could easily happen to them.
“I suppose some things never reach a certain level of society. I at least want the dog walkers to be aware, as we see a lot down there. I would hate to read something like this happen to someone else.”
Speaking of Jimmy, she said: “He deserved better. He had a good life, but a terrible end. He was king of the house but he gave us pleasure of knowing him and being around him.
“Jimmy was just one of those dogs that just clicks with you. He had a bad start, a great middle, and a tragic ending, thanks to some idiot.”
She added: “I just want to highlight it and maybe it will make somebody think twice before they throw a shopping trolley or bike or something.
"I have no doubt next time it could be a child.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.