Dog tied to a rock and thrown into river by cruel owner finds loving new home

RSPCA Radcliffe tell the tragic story of rescued dog Bella

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Bella’s previous owners tried to leave the pooch for dead after tying her lead to a large rock submerged in the freezing cold water in January last year. Fortunately, two dog walkers saw Bella struggling and helped rescue her, Nottinghamshire Live reports.

RSPCA vets treated Bella, then aged 10, and she’s since been in the care of Radcliffe Animal Centre in Nottingham.

Police launched an investigation into his mistreatment and Charlene Latham has since been given a 12-month community order after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to Bella. She was fined £80, ordered to pay £200 costs and a £32 victim surcharge. She was also disqualified from keeping dogs for three years.

Bella has spent the months since battling to regain full health and, this week, was delighted to move into a new home in South Derbyshire.

New owners Maggie Mellish and Charlie Douglas, who are a retired a couple, have had several dogs in the past.

Maggie said: “We as a family have three Shepherd-type dogs over the last 30 years and really love them. We lost our rescue dog Tia/Luna two years ago and my daughter’s dog Flame, this year. We did really miss 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 Lusher, 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.

“We are both retired so she will have our company constantly which is what she really needs and it will be great for us too.”

Charlie added: “We were horrified by what happened to Bella and when we came to see her we realised what a great personality she has and she really is perfect for us.”

Jane Harper and her friend Joanne Bellamy rescued the dog after seeing her struggle last year in the River Trent near Newark, Nottinghamshire.

Jane, who managed to free Bella from the huge rock, 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.

“She looks like a different dog – her coat is beautiful and she looks so happy and full of life. It is great to see how she has been rehabilitated and that she is now going to spend the rest of her days at a loving home. It was so nice to meet Bella’s new owners and we have said we will keep in touch.”


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.

“At times we thought she just wouldn’t make it, with her age and underlying health conditions all against her. But Bella has fought every day, showing enviable strength and courage, not wanting to give up her fight to recover.

“Our animal care assistant Sophie Major has worked so hard and given so much love to Bella to help her, as have the rest of the team, and I know she is going to be missed so much.

“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.

“Maggie and Charlie really are perfect with their experience of this breed and they are aware of the challenges of her care as an elderly dog but are happy to take her in for however long she has left.

“They have a large secure garden which Bella needs as she does not like to be around other dogs and they have plenty of time and love to give her.”

Latham, from Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, was hauled before the courts last month after escaping justice for more than one year.

Her now ex-partner pleaded not guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal on November 23 last year.

No evidence was offered against him subsequently and the charge was dismissed.

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