Network Rail slammed as dead dog is left on tracks for three nights

‘This is my worst nightmare’: Dog owner slams Network Rail as Toto her Jack Russell is left lying on the line for three nights after being hit by a train

  • Georgina Hart’s dog was hit by a train near playing fields in Exeter on Tuesday
  • Toto the Jack Russell’s body was left on the tracks for two days after she died
  • She has called for greater protection to prevent other dogs dying on train tracks

A dog owner has slammed Network Rail after he dog was left lying on tracks for three nights after being hit by a train. 

Georgina Hart was walking her 10-year-old pooch Toto on Tuesday when the dog ran off from Exwick playing fields, near Exeter.

When she failed to return, Georgina decided to go home and look for Toto there, only to later discover her dog had managed to get stuck behind a fence separating the fields from the train tracks.

Ms Hart said she was left ‘heartbroken,’ after hearing Toto had been hit by a train and killed, but she is calling for greater effort  from Network Rail after she had to wait two days for the body to be removed. 

Georgina Hart was left heartbroken after her beloved dog Toto was hit by a train on Tuesday – with the Jack Russell’s body left lying on the tracks in Exeter for three nights

The proud dog lover says she took her eyes off Toto for a couple of minutes before realising she had gone.

She said: ‘She must have been running and back and forth across the line trying to get out before she was hit.

‘It’s been such a distressing time and Network Rail have handled this so poorly, they wouldn’t even remove Toto’s body – she was left on the line for three nights.’ 

Ms Hart added: ‘I took her out in the late afternoon for a walk. It’s a really popular dog walking spot.

‘I let Toto off like I normally do as she is so obedient, she usually has a sniff around but always comes back when I call her.’

Ms Hart said Toto vanished while out for a walk in Exwick playing fields on Tuesday, before managing to get herself stuck behind a fence separating the tracks from the park (pictured)

Network Rail insists there are no holes in the fence which divides the park and tracks, but Ms Hart is calling for greater effort to protect dogs and their owners from future heartbreak

Upon noticing that Toto had wandered off, Georgina checked around the park for her dog, but was unsuccessful.

She said: ‘I made the decision to go home thinking that Toto would have taken herself back to the house.

‘I got home and she was not there so I got onto my bike and went straight back to the park.

‘I was asking other dog walkers if they had seen her and one woman said she had seen her on the train line.’

After learning that her dog had been sighted, Ms Hart contacted British Transport Police who told her she would have to wait until the following day, before anyone can check the lines for Toto.

She said: ‘The following day I got in touch with Network Rail and a spokesperson confirmed my worst nightmare – Toto had been found dead on the railway line and they needed to go through relevant authorities before her body could be removed.

‘I am just heartbroken – she must have been trying to get out from behind the fence as I kept calling her name.

‘If I had known that she was there then I wouldn’t have called her.’

The following evening she received a call confirming Toto’s body was still lying on the railway line whilst trains were still operating.

She said: ‘Network rail have handled this terribly – nobody removed my family pet from the railway line and clearly I was not allowed to go and get her.

Ms Hart, pictured with Toto, had her ‘worst nightmare’ confirmed on Wednesday, but it wasn’t until the next day that her beloved dog’s remains were moved and taken to a crematorium 

‘After being given the run around – and even having one man tell me he couldn’t find Toto’s body on the line – a kind gentleman from Network Rail rang me and said he would personally go and remove Toto, and drop her off to the crematorium.’

Angry with how the situation has been handled, Ms Hart says she wants to to campaign for Network Rail to ensure animals can’t get through the fences and onto the railway line – particularly popular dog walking spots which are in close proximity. 

She said: ‘There are holes under the fence made by foxes and gaps due to poor maintenance, dog owners need to be vigilant.

‘I have spoken with a number of other dog owners who have said a similar thing has happened to their pets in the same area.

‘Network Rail need to lay out strict protocols so this can be avoided in the future.’

Following the upsetting incident, a spokesperson for Network Rail said: ‘We can confirm a dog sadly died on Tuesday, January 26 after being hit by a train between Exeter St Davids and Exeter St Thomas.

‘We have reviewed the fence line along the path by the railway in this area and have found no holes or faults.

‘We understand the loss of a beloved pet is extremely distressing and our thoughts and condolences are with the pet owner.’ 

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