Published: 08:15, 10 January 2018
A gravely ill seal, beached in Kingsdown, escaped back into the water before it could be put down.
There has been growing concern for the animal which has been spotted at Reculver and Minnis Bay over the past week.
Don Hough, from Kingsdown, was walking his dog Bramble, a Croatian Posavac Hound, when he came across it, on Sunday.
He said: “I was with my 10-year-old granddaughter and dog walking on our usual walk along the beach at Kingsdown when I spotted the huge seal in obvious distress.
“The dog didn’t know what to make of the seal as one can imagine.
"My granddaughter held the dog as I tried in vain to turn the seal towards the sea.
“The coastguard was promptly phoned who gave me reassurance that they were on the case.”
The coastguard, British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) and RSPCA, whose officers have been monitoring him, attended the scene.
They assessed the seal to find he was old and skinny with possible skin pox and an infection in his left eye.
A decision was made to put him to sleep but he wandered back into the water and is still being monitored.
An RSPCA spokesman said: “We were contacted about a gravely ill seal that had been found washed up on the beach at Kingsdown on Sunday.
“Sadly the seal escaped back in to the sea and we, alongside the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, are continuing to monitor the situation at the moment.”
A spokesman for the UK Coastguard said: “We attended to place a cordon to stop the public getting too close to the animal.”
The incident has prompted advice from Alex Levine, Kent co-ordinator for BDMLR.
He said: “We are currently in grey seal pup season on so if you see a seal in distress then please do not approach it but call us on 01825 765546 or dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
“We will always send a medic to check on it.”
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