A HEARTBROKEN dog owner has told of his horror after watching his pet disappear down an uncovered sewer before being washed away.
Paul Stewart, 46, had taken his 11-month-old cocker spaniel, Revel, for a morning walk in fields near his home in Whitecraig, East Lothian, when he suddenly disappeared from view.
He quickly realised Revel had fallen into the pipe because the manhole cover was missing and began a frantic rescue attempt along with wife Karen, 45, and son Paul, 25.
However, despite being joined by the police and fire brigade, no trace of Revel could be found.
They were later informed by a water engineer who attended the scene that the dog might emerge at Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works but that he would never have survived.
Scottish Water is now investigating the missing manhole cover and checking the rest of the network in case scrap metal thieves have struck.
Mr Stewart said: “It has been an absolutely heartbreaking and devastating day for us all, a real nightmare.
“We didn’t hear or see any trace of poor Revel. He ran over through some long grass and disappeared down the pipe and was gone. There was nothing we could do.
“The drain was sunk into the ground and covered over by a lot of overgrown grass. My son rang the fire brigade straight away but they couldn’t do anything either when they arrived.
“Following that a guy from Scottish Water arrived. First, he told us that Revel might wash up in Seafield but later he told us that there would be no way that he would make it through alive. We have spent the entire day checking various treatment works and drain covers along the pipeline in the hope of finding him. It’s very upsetting.”
Mr Stewart’s son added: “Revel was a treasured family pet but I dread to think that this could have happened just as easy to a wee bairn. The drain should have been covered.”
A police spokesman said they had been called to the field close to Carberry Road at around 11.45am yesterday.
“Checks were carried out in a bid to try and locate the dog, however the animal was swept away by the current. Officers maintained a presence in the area to ensure the area was made safe and the manhole secured.”
The manhole has since been covered temporarily and plans are being put in place to secure it properly.
A Scottish Water spokesperson said: “Scottish Water and Esk Valley waste water network operators Veolia Water UK have made safe the manhole cover. We are investigating what caused this incident. Remaining manhole covers in this part of the network are being checked.
“We are working alongside Lothian and Borders Police in their investigations.”