Couple who saved freezing Golden Retriever trapped on mountain face Covid fine

A heroic couple who rescued a freezing golden retriever from the top of a mountain which was "so cold she couldn't move" have been reported to police for breaching lockdown rules.

Gorgeous Neesha is an eight-year-old dog who went missing on Saturday, January 23 while out for a family walk on Lugnaquilla, the highest peak in all of Leinster in Ireland.

On February 6, hikers Ciara Nolan and Jean Francois Bonnet discovered the poor pup while hiking and gave her clothes and carried her 10 kilometres down the mountain.

The couple, who both work as doctors, were reportedly staying in the Elbowroom Escape lodge in Donard, Co Wicklow, at the time of the rescue.

The lodge had offered to offer "mental health breaks" to frontline workers on its Instagram page.

But a member of the public reported the couple for breaching non-essential travel rules and gardai are making enquiries into the lodge’s operations.

A Garda (Irish police) spokesman told Dublin Live: “Gardai in Wicklow are carrying out enquiries in relation to premises in the Donard area of Wicklow.

“The premises in question remain closed pending the outcome of the garda inquiry.

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“The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A-Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No.10) Regulations 2020, as amended, are currently in force.

“In supporting the Covid-19 public health guidelines and regulations, An Garda Síochána has and will continue to adopt, a graduated policing response based on its tradition of policing by consent. This has seen Gardaí engage, educate, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce.

“Where Gardai identify potential breaches of the public health regulations a file is prepared for the DPP in each case or a Fixed Payment Notice is issued where appropriate.”

Following the incredible rescue, Mr Bonnet told East Coast FM: “We were almost at the top when my girlfriend Ciara screamed ‘there is a dog, there is a dog’. And that poor thing was curled up against the rock.

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“She was petrified and freezing cold. She didn’t even have the energy to bark or stand. We tried to get her to walk but she couldn’t stand so we covered her in our spare clothes. We gave her some food.

"Ciara put her on my back, and we started going down the mountain, but it was very icy and rocky, so we fell a few times.

“(Ciara) used her scarf to make a little nest for her. And we walked for about four or five hours to get back to the road. We were very happy to be there at the right time and find her.”

They brought the animal to their house, where they fed her and warmed her up. The pair then contacted Ash Animal Rescue centre in Wicklow, they got in touch with Neesha's owners and they were soon reunited.

Neesha's owner Erina O’Shea Goetelen said the past two weeks were “an absolute nightmare”.

She said: “They were let off the leash so they could have a bit of freedom, roll around in the snow and explore.

"They were heading back down, and they said they should put them back on the lead. But a deer popped out and the two of them bolted after the deer.

“My husband and my two kids tried to run after them but they were too fast. Then they lost sight of them towards the forest.”

Mrs O’Shea Goetelen added: “We had just about given up hope that day on Saturday and when I got Ciara’s message that she found our golden retriever . . . we were just so, so happy. They were just absolutely amazing. We can’t thank them enough.”

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