Three brave SPCA heroes rescued a poor pup off a cliff ledge, saving the dog from falling hundreds of meters into the gorge below.


KwaZulu Natal, South Africa – Field Officer Eric Simamane from the Kloof and Highway SPCA, responded to a call received on our after-hours emergency phone at approximately 17:35 on Monday, 1 April 2019, about a dog that could be heard crying in distress in the large woodland area bordering Reservoir Hills.

Field Officer Eric immediately drove to the area and searched for almost two hours in the rain but had to abandon his search as it was raining too hard and the visibility was poor, it was also getting very dark. The Field Officer’s vehicle then got stuck in the mud as it was raining and a tow truck had to be called to tow him out of the area which took about 30 minutes.

“We would like to thank Classic Towing for offering to help tow our vehicle at no charge; we always appreciate your assistance.” 

On Tuesday morning, 2 April 2019, Eric returned to the area with two of his colleagues’ Inspectorate Assistant Sbonelo Gasa and Field Officer Doctor Mthombeni, to assist him and continue the search for the crying dog.

The three staff members could hear the dog crying in the far distance, but could not ascertain exactly where the sound was coming from. They tried to follow the crying, which was not continuous, through the dense bush and uneven terrain.

After approximately three hours, the crying from the dog became weaker. Even though they all thought that it would be almost impossible to find the dog, they were determined to keep looking for this pup which needed their help; they hoped that the dog could sense and hear them looking for it and that it would not give up hope of being found and rescued.

The search was continued for another half an hour and suddenly they saw the dog moving in the thick bush close to what appeared to be a cave at the edge of a cliff.

Eric, the Field Officer Doctor and the Inspectorate Assistant immediately made their way through the thick bush, which took them another hour. They then had to wade through a section of the Umgeni river and slowly climb up a steep incline, before they could reach the Tan Boerboel cross male dog.

They found the terrified, exhausted dog trapped on a narrow ledge next to a cave, lying on hanging tree roots which were close to the edge. The poor pup was in danger of losing his grip and falling 100’s of meters down into the gorge below.

Eric had to tie a length of rope to a tree and around his arm to prevent himself from falling over the ledge while attempting to reach the dog.

Brave SPCA heroes rescue dog off a cliff ledge! Brave SPCA heroes rescue dog off a cliff ledge!

The Inspector Assistant and Field Officer Doctor held onto him while he carefully and slowly moved closer to the dog, making sure not to frighten it in case it fell over the edge of the ledge. After another exhausting, stressful and distressing 50 minutes, the Field Officer managed to position a control pole over the dog’s shoulders and was able to pull the dog slowly towards him to safety.

“The dog was absolutely exhausted and unable to walk any further. Our three tired and stressed gentlemen then took turns to carry the dog back over the uneven terrain and across the river to where their vehicles were parked.” 

At approximately 17:00, the worn-out, but relieved staff members finally reached their vehicles and were able to transport the dog back to the Kloof and Highway SPCA Clinic. He did not appear to have any visible injuries and was given water, a delicious dinner and put into one of the kennels with a heating lamp and warm blankets so he could rest and know that he was safe.

“Early the next morning he was given a thorough health check by one of the Veterinarians, and we were so happy to know that he was injury free after his terrible ordeal.” 

The Kloof & Highway SPCA Inspectorate would like to thank the caring members of the public who called the SPCA after hearing the dog crying in distress, because you cared, this dog was probably saved from a slow and agonising death.

“Our Inspectorate staff always do whatever they can to rescue every animal in distress, and their passion and dedication drive them to rescue animals 24/7 from even the most difficult to reach areas, even outside of our jurisdiction as in this rescue.” 

For any animals in distress, animal welfare concerns, and animal cruelty complaints, please contact the Kloof & Highway SPCA Inspectorate during office hours on (031) 764 1212, e-mail: or for after-hours emergencies on 073 335 9322.

Sources: SPCA 
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