A DEVASTATED dog lover has called for a Widnes quarry and popular climbing spot to be secured after her beloved pet Buffy fell to her death.
Anita Morris, of Cronton, was at Pex Hill on Tuesday when her two-year-old Newfoundland ran through a gap in the perimeter fence and continued over the edge of the precipice.
During life Buffy, described as a ‘big teddy bear’, was a therapy dog who helped children with serious mental health problems and adults with dementia.
Mrs Morris believes the 50kg canine may have bolted after a rabbit.
She told the Weekly News that what had happened to Buffy could kill a child next.
The site is owned by United Utilites, which has a reservoir nearby, and Pex Hill conservation staff based at a nearby centre said the firm had made repeated efforts to secure the site by fixing metal railings in place.
However, they said some rock climbers and teenagers remove the fencing to access the quarry.
Although popular with climbing, youths also camp out on the ridge just centimetres from the sheer drop and have also held raves in the beauty spot.
Neil McMahon, senior project officer at The Conservation Volunteers, said staff fear that intoxicated young people sleeping in tents at the brink could be next to stumble to their death.
He said he was ‘absolutely gutted’ by what had happened.
In 2009 the Weekly News reported that a 19-year-old woman had suffered spinal injuries when she fell at the quarry. A 19-year-old man was airlifted from the site in 2007 with spinal injuries.
Mrs Morris called on United Utilities to secure the site.
She said: “Just imagine if it had been a child. This was a huge dog. She was like a big teddy bear.
“A two-year-old could easily get through where there’s a great big gap in the railings.
“You could fit a 15-stone guy through. It’s renowned for people breaking the railings. Apparently there have been youngsters camping on the edge.
“You just think about what if one of them fell off.”
Neil McMahon said: “I’m gutted for her and for the dog. United Utilities owns the place and has a contractor who comes in and fixes the railings.
“It’s irresponsible climbers and youths who keep breaking them to get access to the top of the quarry. It could have been a two-year-old kid.”
A United Utilities spokesman said: “We’re really sorry to hear about this accident. It must have been very upsetting for the owner.
“We know many people enjoy the land close to Pex Hill Quarry and treat the area with respect. Unfortunately, we have had a problem for a long time with vandalism of the fences.
“We inspect the land on a regular basis and have spent much time and effort repairing the fencing, but it continues to be vandalised.
“Later this year, we have planned work to replace around 225 metres of palisade fencing and will continue to monitor the situation.”