A woman whose dog drowned in a neighbour’s swimming pool is campaigning for a change to the law to protect children and pets.

Pamela Carlile, 54, from Gray's Lane in Ashtead, has launched a petition to get all swimming pools fenced-off.

Ms Carlile’s beloved cocker spaniel, Tessa, disappeared on Saturday, August 17, while enjoying her morning walk in woods at the end of Crampshaw Lane.

Your Local Guardian:

Tessa, who drowned in a swimming pool

Her husband called their three dogs back but Tessa never returned and the family started a frantic search, put up posters and spread the word through the Internet.

She said: "The whole of Ashtead was looking for her. We had four sleepless nights and days of searching for her. It was a nightmare."

On Wednesday, August 21, Animal Search, a private company which helps people find lost pets, called the family to say Tessa's body had been found trapped underneath a cover in a swimming pool in Crampshaw Lane.

Your Local Guardian:

Rosie and Tilly in the woods at the end of Crampshaw Lane

The pool does not have any fence or barriers and is located in a garden without clear boundaries.

Ms Carlile said: "We are very upset that we have tragically lost our dog so unnecessarily.

"We are angry as well that it happened but could have been avoided if the pool had a proper cover or was fenced off."

She said the owners of the disused swimming pool claim it is safe and have said they are not prepared to put fences around the property, railings around the pool or a safer cover in place.

Ms Carlile said: "We want this to be flagged-up before a child goes missing. It needs to be flagged up and changed before it happens again."

Your Local Guardian:

The woods near the swimming pool

Unlike New Zealand, Australia and other countries, the UK does not have any laws or regulations to make sure there are barriers around pools.

Ms Carlile said: "We are going to petition to see if we can get a change in laws. It’s such a big risk. Next time it could be a child."

"Please sign the petition as we are devastated and want to ensure that this doesn't happen to anyone else"

Tessa had bronze and silver Good Citizen awards that are part of a dog training scheme.

She said: "Tessa was very well trained and behaved dog. She was a lovely, lovely dog. When in the woods and dogs are enjoying themselves, everyone walks them off the lead.

"She enjoyed life and that’s what a dog with a good home should do."

Your Local Guardian:

The dogs in front of the house with the swimming pool

Sandie Robertson, volunteer coordinator for DogLost, a community of dog owners who help people with missing pets, said: "We have certainly seen quite a number of dogs reported to us this year who has suffered the same fate as Tessa.

"I know quite a number have drowned in unsecured swimming pools after going under covers. I think it's something that needs proper legislation like in Australia."

Ms Robertson said a lot of people did not realise how many properties have swimming pools in their gardens and it was hard to keep animals away.

She said: "They are not going to read a danger deep water sign but if it's fenced off they will go somewhere else."

Vet Melissa McCagie, who owns Ashtead Veterinary Centre, said: "We were all terribly upset to hear that Mrs Carlile had lost Tess when she ventured into a neighbour's yard and drowned in their pool.

"We had known Tess since she was a puppy. I've known only one other case locally in the past 13 years; in this case the dog drowned in her owners' own pool.

"I was surprised there are no regulations in the UK regarding fencing private pools - possibly because the numbers are relatively low in this country."

She said in other countries where there are more backyard family pools such as Australia, South Africa, France and the USA it is tragically not uncommon for toddlers to drown.

She said: "Fences certainly reduce the risk although they never eliminate the human error factor - gates may be inadvertently left open or unlocked."

An RSPCA spokeswoman said: "The RSPCA encourages people to be careful with dogs and vulnerable young children when there is a swimming pool in a garden.

"We would encourage basic measures that improve the safety for both animals and humans around swimming pools to prevent potentially tragic accidents from happening."

Sign the petition here.