A DOG from Wiveliscombe would have been put down if he had not become a local celebrity.

His owners, the Culmstock Hunt, discovered he had an arthritic back. No longer able to hunt with the pack, he was out of a job in 1979.

Boatman, an otter hound, then landed himself a big role in film Tarka the Otter.

His role as Dreadlock, the leader of the otter hounds in the film version of the Henry Williamson classic, earned him a reprieve at Kittisford Farm.

Hunt member Squire Batten and his wife Sue, gave Boatman a job on their dairy and sheep farm, but he spent most of his time on the sofa or playing with his new owners and their children.

Boatman is pictured with Lucy and Daniel Batten on Kittisford Farm.