Dog owner who tied heavy rock to pet and threw it into river fined £80

‘When I first saw her, I thought she was dead,’ says witness

Chiara Giordano
Wednesday 17 March 2021 12:22
Dog owner who tied heavy rock to pet and threw it into river fined just £80
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A dog owner who tried to drown her pet by tying a heavy rock to its neck and throwing it in a river has been fined just £80.

Charlene Latham, 32, put the rock in a carrier bag and tied the handles to her Belgian shepherd Bella’s lead.

She then threw the dog and the rock into the River Trent in Farndon, Nottinghamshire, before running away.

Passer-by Jane Harper was walking along the river bank on the morning of 6 January last year when she heard a loud splash and saw Bella beginning to disappear under the water.

She rushed to rescue the 10-year-old dog before calling the police, who took the animal to a vet.

Locals bring towels to wrap Bella, a Belgian shepherd which was tied to a large rock by her owner and thrown into a river in Nottinghamshire

Latham was arrested after Bella’s microchip identified the dog, and she later admitted causing unnecessary suffering to animal.

On Monday, she was handed a 12-month community order, fined £80 and ordered to pay £232 costs and victim surcharge at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court.

Latham, formerly of Newark, Nottinghamshire, but now of Ilfracombe, north Devon, was also banned from keeping dogs for three years.

The vet who examined Bella said it was “likely she would have died” if she had not received treatment in time.

Jane Harper and Joanne Bellamy reunited with Bella at RSPCA Radcliffe Animal Centre in Nottingham

"She was severely hypoglycemic, hypothermic and tremoring to the point where she could not stand,” they added.

Bella was later transferred to the RSPCA Radcliffe Animal Centre in Nottingham, where she made a full recovery and is now looking for a new home.

Ella Carpenter, manager at Radcliffe Animal Centre, which is caring for Bella until she is rehomed, said: “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.

“Her new owners should have experience of large-breed dogs, ideally owning German shepherds before, and have no other pets.

“She will need a very secure garden. She does not like to be around other dogs and is reactive and unsettled in their presence.”

Bella made a full recovery and is now looking for a new home

Recalling the rescue, Ms Harper, of Newark, said: "I honestly don't know how she survived.

“She was in such a bad way. She was just a dead weight. She was in a terrible state.

“When I first saw her, I thought she was dead. I was trying to talk to her and lift her out, but she wasn't responding.

“Then her eyes moved and I thought ‘I've got to help this dog’.

“It was a real struggle and we had to call others to get her out because of the weight.

“I soon realised this was a deliberate act and not just an animal in a tricky situation.

“Her coat was so thick and she had no strength, but we just kept talking to her and keeping her calm. It was a real team effort.

“It feels great that she's now got a chance to spend her last few years with a loving family.

“It would be so nice that she was giving so much love and attention in her remaining years. That's all she needs.”

Additional reporting by SWNS