A cruel pet owner who tried to drown her dog in a freezing river with a heavy rock tied to its lead has been spared jail.
Belgian Shepherd Bella was found up to her neck in water in the River Trent after having a carrier bag containing the rock tethered to her leash.
Heroic passerby Jane Harper bravely jumped in to rescue the pooch in Farndon, Notts, at 8.45am on January 6 last year.
Charlene Latham, 32, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the pup at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court today.
Nottinghamshire Police took the dog to a local vet where she received emergency treatment and was nursed back to strength from the brink of death.
Bella is now looking for a new home after making an incredible recovery.
The court heard how investigators were able to trace Latham as 11-year-old Bella’s owner after vets scanned her microchip during treatment revealing her address.
The vet who examined the poor pooch after she was pulled from the river said had she not been treated when she was then she would certainly have died.
She said: “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.”
Bella was later transferred into the care of the RSPCA Radcliffe Animal Centre in Nottingham where she fought back to good health.
She has complex veterinary needs but she is said to have been “completely transformed” from the dog who almost died to the “bouncy elderly girl” she is now.
Ella Carpenter, manager at Radcliffe Animal Centre, said, after the case that they are now desperate to find Bella a loving new home.
She said: “We are both proud and privileged to have cared for Bella over the past fourteen months.
“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.
“We hope that she will now be able to live out the rest of her life with the love and respect that she has always deserved and are looking for that special forever home for Bella.”
Latham, of Ilfracombe, Devon and formerly of Notts, handed a 12 month community order today.
She was also fined £80, ordered to pay £200 costs and a £32 victim surcharge and disqualified from keeping dogs for three years.