Page last updated at 09:28 GMT, Saturday, 15 August 2009 10:28 UK

Trapped dog survived on rainwater

Bess the lucky labrador
Bess survived by licking rainwater from her paws

A dog which survived for three weeks trapped in a fox snare by licking rainwater from its paws is almost back to full health, its owner says.

Black Labrador Bess went missing from the Gornall family home in Longridge, Lancashire, on 9 July.

After 24 days of searches and appeals the family had almost given up hope when Bess was found trapped in a cage.

The nine-year-old is now back home with the Gornall family and is said to be in "fantastic spirits".

But if the predicted hot British summer had arrived the story may have ended in tragedy, Lancashire Police said.

"The local police wildlife officer had told me that's literally the reason Bess survived - that she's been licking her paws when the rain's been falling in the cage - so that's how she survived," said owner Donna Gornall.

I'm certainly not happy - someone has been very irresponsible in setting that trap
Donna Gornall, owner

Mrs Gornall said the family had spent time scouring local fields for Bess after she "shot off" one night.

"We'd put out laminated posters, put a massive banner up outside our house, put adverts in the local papers. We literally did all we could to try and find her.

"[Then] we got a telephone call saying a man out walking had found Bess in a fox trap. He'd heard her cries."

Bess was found in a catch cage trap at the bottom of a deep-sided valley on farmland.

Although the family are "absolutely delighted" by her return, Mrs Gornall said they were still angry about her incarceration.

"I'm certainly not happy - someone has been very irresponsible in setting that trap.

"Those traps are supposed to be checked every 24 hours by law. So it's a blatant disregard of the law."

Bess was underweight when she was found on 2 August but is eating, drinking and almost back to full health.


Owner Donna Gornall is angry with whoever set the trap

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