Dog tied to a rock and thrown into river finds forever home

The RSPCA says the retired couple, who live in a village in South Derbyshire, are a perfect match for Bella. Credit: RSPCA

A dog who was rescued from drowning in the River Trent has finally found her forever home in Derbyshire after spending 15 months recuperating in the care of the RSPCA.

What happened to Bella?

Bella was rescued from the River Trent near Long Lane, Farndon, near Newark, on January 6. Two dog walkers saw her struggling in the water after she was left to drown with her lead tied to a large rock.

She was immediately taken for emergency treatment at a local vet.

Bella (then aged 10) was transferred into RSPCA care and since then, she has been looked after by staff at Radcliffe Animal Centre in Nottingham while the animal welfare charity and police launched an investigation to find who was responsible.

Bella was fortunate to survive her ordeal in the freezing cold water and then it was discovered that she had a range of complex health needs.

Bella, a German Shepherd-type dog, was rescued from the river near Long Lane, Farndon, on January 6. Credit: RSPCA


Where is her forever home?

After months of rehabilitation by the RSPCA, she was completely transformed and has now found her forever home with Maggie Mellish and Charlie Douglas.

The RSPCA says the retired couple, who live in a village in South Derbyshire, are a perfect match for Bella (now aged 11) as they have had Shepherd-type dogs before.

On Wednesday the couple went to see their new pet ahead of her moving in with them yesterday (March 31). Bella’s rescuers, Jane Harper and her friend Joanne Bellamy, were also invited along to witness the happy occasion.

Maggie said: “We as a family, have had three Shepherd-type dogs over the last 30 years and really love them. “Then we saw Bella’s story in the press a few weeks ago and the fact she needed a home so my daughter, Clare, encouraged us to apply for her.

We know she will need regular vet appointments and are willing to finance those. We know she is in her older years but we just want to offer her a loving home she so deserves after all she has been through.

Maggie Mellish, dog owner

Jane, who freed Bella from the rock in the river said: “It is quite emotional seeing Bella as it brings back memories of that terrible day but we are thrilled to see how she has been transformed by staff here at the RSPCA."

Bella’s rescuers, Jane Harper and her friend Joanne Bellamy, were also invited along to witness the happy occasion. Credit: RSPCA

Ella Carpenter, manager at Radcliffe Animal Centre, said: “This is the perfect happy ending to a story which started off so sad and there were real doubts if Bella could pull through after her terrible ordeal.

“But we know Bella will now be able to live out the rest of her life with the love and respect that she has always deserved."

A woman was sentenced to a 12 months community order last month after she pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Bella by attempting to drown her.

As well as a 12-month community order she was fined £80, was ordered to pay £200 costs and a £32 victim surcharge. She was also disqualified from keeping dogs for three years.

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