Two people have been arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty offenses.
A woman's quick judgment led to her saving a poor dog's life in Nottinghamshire, England. The woman, when passing by a river, was quick to notice that a dog, barely alive and barely visible above the surface of a river, needed to be saved immediately. The Independent reports that it was no accident that the dog ended up in the river because she was found with a plastic bag containing a large, heavy rock tied to the leash around her neck. The dog, a Belgian shepherd named Bella, was left in the freezing water to drown. On January 6, 2020, Jane Harper was walking by the River Trent in the English village of Farndon when her friend, Joanne Bellamy, exclaimed that she could see a dog’s head bobbing above the water.
Harper, who was walking her own dogs, handed them to Bellamy before climbing into the river to try and save Bella. Upon first glance, Harper admitted that she thought Bella had lost the fight. “The water was so murky, I couldn’t pull her out,” Harper explained to the Daily Mail. “I saw a lead wrapped around her leg, and a blue line that was leading down to something submerged.”
“I got my arm underneath her and tried to lift her up,” Harper continued. “I imagine she literally fought to get her head above water and managed to rest it on a step.” Bella was extremely exhausted and Harper struggled to get her out of the water, but she eventually succeeded and dragged her onto the concrete steps of the riverbank. That's when Harper discovered that a stone had been affixed to Bella's collar to keep her submerged in the water.
Tormenting photos shared online represent Harper’s effort to drag Bella’s cold, near-lifeless body out of the freezing water. “She’s a big, heavy dog,” Harper explained in an interview with BBC Nottinghamshire. “Then another dog walker came and got her on to the grass, and wrapped her in his jumper. Another lady came running out with towels. It was a real community effort. She was absolutely frozen; we all thought she would die,” Harper added, describing the group rescue effort as very emotional.
Bella was then rushed to a nearby veterinarian for emergency care where she was identified, thanks to her microchip. PC Pace, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: "This was an evil and nasty thing to do to this poor dog and we are making every effort to find out who is responsible. We are lucky that the kind member of the public found and rescued her. If anyone has dash-cam or CCTV footage of vehicles in Long Lane that may show who was in the area at the time that would be really helpful." The post was shared on Facebook.
The Nottinghamshire authorities later arrested a 32-year-old man and 31-year-old woman on suspicion of animal cruelty offenses. Their details have not been released yet. “How could anyone do this to her,” Harper questioned. “I don’t know how long she had been in the water but I don’t think she could have survived much longer. It was just so cruel.” Thanks to Harper's efforts, Bella's carers think the lovely dog will make it.
"We are lucky that the kind member of the public found and rescued her. Whilst the dog is still quite poorly she has been showing some encouraging signs by eating so hopefully she will be on the mend." Pace said in a Facebook update on Bella’s condition. The video accompanying the post shows Bella digging into a bowl of food with enthusiasm, despite the traumatic ordeal she was made to go through. As of January 13, 2020, Bella is still in the care of a loving, expert contingent that will take care of her ongoing recovery.