Luckily, a passerby spotted the dog, and she was rescued in time and has made a full recovery since the horrific incident. She is now in search of a home where she gets the "love and respect she deserves."
Trigger warning: This story contains details of animal abuse that may be disturbing to readers.
Last year, in January 6, Bella an 11-year-old German Shepherd was struggling to stay afloat after she was cruelly left to drown in the River Trent by her owner, according to ITV. Two dog walkers, one of whom was Jane Harper spotted the dog and noticed that Bella's lead was attached to a carrier bag and tied to a large rock under the water. Thankfully they managed to free her and she was immediately rushed to the vet. There, they found a microchip on the pooch that was registered 10 years ago and found out that Charlene Latham, 32, was Bella's owner reports Daily Mail.
Bella was taken to the RSPCA Radcliffe Animal Centre in Nottingham and the vet who treated Bella says she was saved in the nick of time, and if she hadn't received immediate medical aid, she would have died. "Bella was in a suffering state when presented to me on January 6. This is because she was severely hypoglycemic, hypothermic, and tremmering to the point where she could not stand. If she had not been treated at this stage it is likely she would have died," said the vet. Center manager Ella Carpenter said that Bella was thrown into the river in the middle of the night, in a deliberate attempt to get rid of her.
"She spent hours there until thankfully two dog walkers spotted her moving and her eyes flicker in the water around eight o'clock in the morning. They acted quickly they got into the water very bravely. They pulled her out and upon doing that discovered that she was tied to a rock and the enormity of what was a deliberate attempt to drown her hit home and they called the police and they got her to a local veterinary surgeon and then here to start her recovery." Latham was arrested soon after, and on March 8, 2021, was sentenced to a 12-month community order after she pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Bella by attempting to drown her.
She has also been disqualified from keeping a pet for three years, apart from being fined £80 ($110), ordered to pay £200 ($277) costs, and a £32 ($44) victim surcharge. The court also heard how Bella's owner, now living in Ilfracombe, Devon, begged her ex-partner Leigh Johnson, 33, not to drown the dog, but in vain. However, Latham didn't go and get help to stop it from happening. Unfortunately, the RSPCA did not have enough evidence against Johnson, especially since he denied the charges against him. Ella then spoke about how Bella's road to recovery was not easy. "For the first six months, we did think she wouldn't make it."
"She was having regular blood tests, we found it very difficult to know her level of normal was because she's an older dog. But after the first six months, we managed to stabilize her condition." Now that Bella's condition has improved, the center is looking to find a forever home for the dog where she can get the "love and respect she deserves." But, she does come with a list of dos and dont's. "She has very specific needs," said Ella, "She doesn't like other dogs at all so she needs to go to a home without any other dogs." Bella also has a list of health conditions that are now being taken care of by RSPCA.
"She obviously needs to go to someone who can afford her care, it would be wrong of us to place her in ab home she won't receive that going forward. Ideally, we would like to find a local home so the animal center can continue to support her care. It's taken us 14-month to know her personality, to know when she's well when she's not so well. So we'd really like a local home, but the most important thing is that she finds a home, anywhere really where someone is prepared to take her on."
If you, or anyone you know, can give Bella the forever home she needs, do reach out to RSPCA.