Tuesday, 20 March 2018 21:32

Calls for repairs to fence on Laighhills after train kills dog

From the Stirling Observer 20 March 2018

A dog was hit and  killed by a train in Dunblane at the weekend prompting fresh calls for repairs to be made to a fence at the railway line.  Representatives from Dunblane Community Council contacted Network Rail to ask that they sort the structure which separates the Laighhills public park from the train tracks. The area is popular with dog walkers and concern is growing that the gaps appearing between the bottom of the fence and the ground are allowing pets access to the railway line. A seven-year-old Collie was killed after straying on to the train tracks during a walk with its owner in the park earlier this month. The dog’s distressed owner, who asked not to be named, told the Stirling Observer the pet spotted some rabbits on the other side of the fence and managed to get through.  She said: “It was getting dark and he just went down the side of the hill to chase the rabbits I think. The fence is very close to the train tracks. “We were running around looking for him but couldn’t find him anywhere. We didn’t know where he had gone and it was getting darker and darker. ”The family became aware that something bad had happened when representatives from Network Rail arrived on the scene to say that a dog had been hit by a passing train. After finding the dog on the tracks he was taken home by his heartbroken family. His owner added: “There are a lot of people who take their dogs to the park which should be a safe area for pets .“I’ve spoken to some neighbours and they are also concerned about it. Dogs can scramble under some parts of the fence and larger breeds can jump over over other sections .”

Terence O’Byrne, chair of Dunblane Community Council, believes it’s lucky more dogs have not been killed on the tracks. He said: “The community council has reported this issue with the fence to Network Rail. “We expect them to make sure that the bottom of the fence meets the ground with no gaps and expect this repair to be done as soon as possible. We will keep a close eye on their response. “This fence is in a public park and as such must be more than simply ‘stock proof’. Dogs have been killed on the rail line for many long years. It is a matter of luck that more dogs have not been killed.”

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Our maintenance engineers will inspect the lineside fencing in the area and make any necessary repairs. “Our fencing is primarily designed to help people stay off of the railway by showing the boundary between our infrastructure and other land. We would advise dog owners to always keep pets on a leash when in close proximity to the railway as fencing may not always prevent smaller animals reaching the line.”

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