A woman has recently gone viral for her heroic actions after spotting a dog being thrown into a river with rocks tied to her back.

                                  Keep scrolling to read more on this harrowing story...

                                  Despite being man's best friend...

                                  via: Getty Images

                                  Dogs are sadly one of the biggest victims of abuse and neglect. They are one of the world's most popular household pets, but for some completely unknown reason, people have been known to inflict all kinds of horrors on these faithful companions.

                                  It's unknown how many animals are abused every year...

                                  via: Getty Images

                                  But animal abuse and neglect have long been a problem here in the States and around the world. Thousands of animals suffer and lose their lives at the hands of careless and ignorant individuals, and it pains me truly to be writing this story.

                                  There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however.

                                  via: Getty Images

                                  Millions of people around the world stand firmly against animal abuse, and there are endless animal organizations and charities out there that come together to protect our domesticated friends.

                                  A fresh start for the unfortunate pets.

                                  via: Getty Images

                                  These organizations and charities rescue animals in danger and animals that are injured from abuse; they also strive to get these pets rehomed into a safe and caring environment.

                                  Abused and neglected dogs show certain signs of having been hurt.

                                  via: Getty Images

                                  According to a study conducted by a team at Best Friends Animal Society, dogs that have fallen victim to abuse and neglect are more likely to show behavioral traits such as fearfulness, aggression towards people and other dogs, hyperactivity, persistent barking, and bizarre and repetitive behaviors such as digging, spinning in circles, and hoarding.

                                  These behaviors can make a dog dangerous.

                                  via: Getty Images

                                  In some cases, abused dogs have no hope of trusting humans again, which makes them aggressive and unsafe to have in a family home. Of course, this is not their fault, but it means that many families can't risk homing these poor pups. This sadly often results in euthanasia, which is always a last resort when it comes to caring for neglected animals.

                                  This is why the kindness of strangers is needed more than ever.

                                  Adopting a dog, rather than buying a puppy, can help to save so many lives.

                                  Or, just helping where you can.

                                  Like one passer-by did when she saw a dog in need.

                                  Jane Harper was walking by a river when she spotted something in the water.

                                  Something like a dog.

                                  Although just a passerby, Jane had to see what it was.

                                  And so, she headed over the water to investigate.

                                  The incident happened in January this year at the River Trent in Nottinghamshire, UK making the water very cold for anyone, human or dog.

                                  Once by the water, Jane found Belgian Shepherd, Bella, with just her neck above the water.

                                  At first, Jane thought Bella was dead.

                                  But thankfully, Bella showed signs of life as she was able to blink.

                                  Realizing this pooch was in trouble, Jane jumped straight in to help.

                                  And then she found something heartbreaking.

                                  Bella was unable to get out of the river herself, as she had rocks tied to her.

                                  A heavy rock - pictured above - had been placed inside a carrier bag and attached to Bellas lead in order to weigh her down.

                                  Speaking at the time of the incident Jane said, "The water was so murky, I couldn't pull her out."

                                  Speaking to LadBible, she continued: "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."

                                  Thankfully, Jane was able to pull Bella from the water and call the police.

                                  "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."

                                  Bella was taken to the vets to receive treatment, where she was found to be microchipped...

                                  Meaning her owners who did this to her could be identified. They were later taken to court where they pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal namely Bella the shepherd dog, by an act, namely by attempting to drown the dog resulting in the animal being immersed in the cold water of the River Trent for a prolonged period, and that she knew, or ought to have known, that the act would have that effect or be likely to do so.

                                  Now released on bail, they will appear in court next year.

                                  Chief Superintendent Rob Griffin, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: "This was a highly emotive incident that was understandably very shocking to the public."

                                  "Thankfully Bella is reported to be doing well and is in very good hands."

                                  "Animal cruelty is totally unacceptable and we will always support our colleagues in the RSPCA in whatever we can in their investigations."

                                  We hope Bella will make a full recovery.

                                  Keep scrolling for more heartwarming pet stories...

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