Woman jumped in river to save drowning dog weighted down with rock

Woman jumped in river to save drowning dog weighted down with rock
Hero Jane Harper says she was sure Belgian Shepherd Bella was dead until she saw her eyes move (Pictures: Raymonds/Facebook/BPM Media)

A woman who threw herself into a river to save a drowning dog that had been weighted down has described the ‘horrific’ rescue mission.

Jane Harper, from Newark, Nottinghamshire says she thought Belgian Shepherd Bella was dead until she blinked. The dog’s head was spotted by Jane’s friend as the two walked along the River Trent at Farndon, Nottinghamshire, with three dogs of their own around 8.45am on Monday. The animal lover dived into the river and attempted to pull Bella out, but was shocked to find a line attached to a carrier bag with a large rock inside.

She said: ‘I looked and I thought ‘that’s a dead dog’ – then she blinked.’

‘The water was so murky, I couldn’t pull her out.

‘I saw a lead wrapped around her leg, and a blue line that was leading down to something submerged.

07/01/2020: Picture shows Jane Harper of Newark, Notts, rescuing a drowning dog whose lead had been tied to a rock and thrown in the River Trent. The animal, whose name was recorded on her microchip in 2010 as Bella, was taken to a vet where she is recovering. A 31-year-old woman and a 32-year-old man arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty offences have been released under investigation. Jane has been praised for her brave actions for pulling the dog out of the river. See Raymonds copy 07407 763529 / 07407 358364
Jane Harper, from Newark, has described the incident as ‘horrific’ (Picture: Raymonds/Facebook)
07/01/2020: Picture shows the rescued drowning dog whose lead had been tied to a rock and thrown in the River Trent. The animal, whose name was recorded on her microchip in 2010 as Bella, was taken to a vet where she is recovering. A 31-year-old woman and a 32-year-old man arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty offences have been released under investigation. Jane Harper, who rescued Bella, has been praised for her brave actions for pulling the dog out of the river. See Raymonds copy 07407 763529 / 07407 358364
Bella is now recovering (Picture: Raymonds/Notts Police)

‘I got my arm underneath her and tried to lift her up.’

‘I imagine she literally fought to get her head above water and managed to rest it on a step.’

‘How could anyone do this to her?’

‘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.’

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Police were called to the scene and the dog was identified as Bella through a microchip.

She is currently recovering at a local vet’s.

A man, 32, and a woman, 31, arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty offences have been released under investigation.

07/01/2020: Picture shows the rescued drowning dog whose lead had been tied to a rock and thrown in the River Trent. The animal, whose name was recorded on her microchip in 2010 as Bella, was taken to a vet where she is recovering. A 31-year-old woman and a 32-year-old man arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty offences have been released under investigation. Jane Harper, who rescued Bella, has been praised for her brave actions for pulling the dog out of the river. See Raymonds copy 07407 763529 / 07407 358364
Jane has asked ‘how could anyone do this to Bella?’ (Picture: Raymonds/Notts Police)
Officers are appealing for anyone who saw anything suspicious in the Long Lane area, which leads to a path and a fishing area opposite Staythorpe Power Station, to come forward.
PC Adam Pace said ‘This was an evil and nasty thing to do to this poor dog.

‘We are lucky that the kind member of the public found and rescued her.”

‘While the dog is still quite poorly, she has been showing some encouraging signs by eating so hopefully she will be on the mend.’

Inspector Heather Sutton, Nottinghamshire Police’s neighbourhood policing inspector for the Newark area, added that officers had received ‘overwhelming support from members of the public to help Bella and assist our officers with their investigation into this particularly sad case’.

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She said: ‘I would like to thank the public for their support, which has meant that we have a number of lines of enquiry that we will be following up as part of our continuing work to understand the circumstances surrounding this incident.

‘Animal cruelty investigations can often be very complex, so it’s important that we take our time to properly understand this case to ensure that the appropriate action is taken against whoever may be responsible and bring the offenders to justice.

‘While we have made two arrests, I would continue to encourage anyone with any information to come forward to police as soon as possible.’