Page last updated at 12:08 GMT, Saturday, 28 March 2009

'Banned' lifeguard dog reinstated

In the past Bilbo was carried on ATBs to get round the dogs on beach ban

A lifeguard dog banned from patrolling a Cornish beach because of health and safety rules is to be reinstated after hundreds of people signed a petition.

Bilbo, a Newfoundland, patrolled Sennen with his lifeguard master and got round a dog ban on the beach by sitting in an all terrain bike (ATB) during patrols.

However, the RNLI said passengers were not allowed on ATBs and banned him.

The petition succeeded in getting him classed as a legitimate working animal which exempts him from the dog ban.

Had he gone on the beach while not classed as a working dog, his lifeguard owner Steve Jamieson would have faced a £75 fine.

However, as a result of 1,500 people signing the petition seeking his classification, the 14-stone (89kg) hound is due to start his patrol rounds again in time for the summer season.

The six-year-old dog, which wears a special yellow jacket and paddles out to stricken swimmers while pulling a rescue float with him, had been part of the lifeguard team at Sennen for three years.

Newfoundland dogs are well adapted to swimming because they have a double coat - with the outer layer repelling water - and webbed paws.

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