Volunteers jump into freezing Leeds canal to search for family's missing pet

The Carters' golden retriever, Ollie
The Carters' golden retriever, Ollie
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A dog owner has paid tribute to two heroic volunteers who dived into a freezing Leeds canal to recover her pet's body.

Hayley Kaye's family dog Ollie died after falling into the Leeds Liverpool Canal at Rodley during a walk in sub-zero temperatures last week.

Murphy's Army volunteers Andy and Martin entered the freezing water

Murphy's Army volunteers Andy and Martin entered the freezing water

The golden retriever chased a stick onto the ice of the frozen canal, and entered the water when it broke.

Hayley's husband Alex, a trainee paramedic, and sister Emma Carter, a nurse, both jumped into the water to try and save Ollie, but could not locate him.

Hayley and Emma's dad Andrew Carter then desperately searched for the pet's body, but had to give up as darkness fell.

The family were resigned to never seeing Ollie again until they were contacted by two volunteers from Bradford-based charity Murphy's Army, which reunites lost and stolen pets with their owners.

The pair, Andy Smith and Martin Chappellow, entered the water, where temperatures were as low as -14 degrees, wearing protective wetsuits, and managed to return Ollie's body to the Carters.

"The canal was frozen over by thick ice, and Ollie stood on it, the ice broke and he fell in. The water was freezing and Ollie panicked and turned to try and get to the other side of the canal where he would have though he could get out. Alex and my sister jumped into the canal to try and find him, but unfortunately they couldn't see him and he had been under the ice for too long," said Hayley, from Horsforth.

"On Saturday morning my dad met Andy Smith and Martin Chappellow. They both went into the canal, breaking the ice to try and recover him to give my parents some closure. After one hour in freezing water with temperatures similar to Alaska, Andy found Ollie and we were then able to bring him home and lay him to rest."

The charity told the family that they would have returned to the canal on a later date to carry on searching for Ollie if necessary.

Andrew has now decided to run the Manchester Marathon to raise money for Murphy's Army.

"Ollie would never go into the water without easy access and he hasn't been able to tell the difference between the ice on the canal and the path. He saw a stick on the ice and went to retrieve this," added Hayley.

"We want this prevent this happening to any other dog; even if your dog doesn't go near water, they can't tell the difference between frozen water and the path.

"We want to highlight the work Murphy's Army do in reuniting lost pets with their owners even in the worst circumstances.

"Both my sister and my husband are OK. They both knew the consequences and what could have happened but they both went in anyway."