Couple Who Rescued Freezing Dog On Hike Reported To Police For Breaching Lockdown

Couple Who Rescued Freezing Dog On Hike Reported To Police For Breaching LockdownCiara Nolan/TikTok/Ciara Nolan/RTE

A couple who rescued a freezing dog from the top of a mountain have been reported to the police for allegedly breaking lockdown rules.

Ciara Nolan and Jean Francois Bonnet had been hiking in the Republic of Ireland’s Wicklow Mountains on February 6, when they came across a stranded pooch.

Neesha, an eight-year-old Golden Retriever, had been reported missing two weeks earlier. However, even despite their heroics, the couple – who both work as doctors – have been reported to the police.

A Garda 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.’

Nolan and Bonnet had reportedly been staying at the Elbowroom Escape lodge in Donard, Co. Wicklow, when they embarked on a hike and ended up finding Neesha along the way.

The lodge had been offering ‘mental health breaks’ to frontline workers. However, those who made the complaint believe the pair broke the 5km non-essential travel rule under current restrictions.

The couple had found the dog near the summit of the mountain so frozen she could barely move, stand or even bark, and had wounds on her legs.

In a TikTok, you can see the pair dressing Neesha in clothes they had with them, with Bonnet then carrying the dog for a whopping 10km back down the mountain. The video has since been viewed more than three million times.

When the couple got the dog back down, they gave her some food and helped warm her up before contacting a local animal rescue group that informed her owners.

As per RTE, the Goetelen family had lost track of Neesha when she ran after a deer while they were out for a walk. Teenager Shannah Goetelen said, ‘I just pictured her shivering in the cold, it was awful.’

While overjoyed about Neesha’s return, many are curious how she managed to stay alive in such perilous conditions on the mountain, particularly for a whole fortnight. ‘Maybe she got a bit of shelter in the forest, I just don’t know,’ Shannah’s mother, Irena, said.

The Garda spokesman added, ‘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.’

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