Bella: Starving, Dehydrated, Neglected and Abandoned

posted on Thursday, February 28, 2019 in News

UPDATE 04/04/19: 1 year-old Bella arrived at the ARL at the end of February emaciated, hunched over, shivering uncontrollably, and covered in urine and feces. She had been neglected and abandoned and was so weak from starvation and dehydration that she could barely stand. She was suffering from hypothermia and her body was beginning to shut down. Thanks to the quick action and skill of the ARL’s Veterinary team, Bella survived and his now with a family who loves her.

Bella’s owner, Patricia Hernandez just pleaded guilty to the charge of Animal Neglect – Care & Treatment and was ordered to pay a fine of just $65.

Bella AdoptedUPDATE 03/19/19: We're happy to announce that Bella just walked out the door on her way to her new home! Her new mom had to say goodbye to her previous dog a while back and had been watching Bella's story online. She fell in love with Bella as soon as she met her and has already started spoiling her with toys and treats from our Animal House store!

Bella has come so far from the little dog who arrived here emaciated and in need of emergency care. We could not be more thrilled to see her happy, healthy ... and now home with her new family. Congratulations to Bella and her new mama!

UPDATE 03/18/19: Remember Bella, the abandoned dog who came to us emaciated and suffering from hypothermia? We’re happy to report that she is now healthy and ready for adoption! After everything she has been through, she does have some special needs. Interested in giving Bella a home? Here’s what she’s looking for:

  1. Someone to play and cuddle with her! Now that she feels better, Bella is a silly, bouncy girl who loves toys, scratches and pets.
  2. A calm, quiet home. Too much activity can be too much for her, but she thrives in a peaceful environment.
  3. A family who is willing to go very slowly with her if there are men in the household. She can be uncomfortable around some new people, particularly males, and may need extra time to get used to them.
  4. A home with no other dogs. Bella prefers not to share her space with other dogs, so she needs to be the only dog in her home.
  5. A home where it’s OK if she is vocal sometimes. Bella is an excellent doorbell and will let you know anytime she hears or sees anything. Because of this, apartment life might not be ideal for her.
  6. A family who will make her part of their daily lives. Bella bonds closely with her people, so she’s looking for a family who will love that!

We’re so excited for Bella to find the loving family she’s always deserved. If you can give Bella a home, please email Cassandra at!

It never gets easier. No matter how many times we see unimaginable suffering, the horror is still the same. That’s how it was when Bella arrived at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa just a few days ago.

BellaThe little dog was emaciated – hunched over, shivering uncontrollably, and covered in urine and feces. She had been neglected and abandoned and was so weak from starvation and dehydration that she could barely stand.

Even scarier, Bella was suffering from hypothermia. Her body was beginning to shut down. Bella isn't out of the woods yet. She desperately needs your help.

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Bella had arrived at the ARL just in time. Much longer and she would not have survived.

Our Emergency Care Team immediately started Bella on IV fluids and began actively warming her with heat packs and blankets. We held her as she shook and carefully cleaned her with dry shampoo, since her temperature was too low to risk using water. We gently treated her legs and feet, which were raw and inflamed from living in her own waste.


Your donation to our Miracle Medical Fund provides hope for Bella and other pets like her who come to the ARL in desperate need of help.

Bella is still facing a long road to recovery, but we’re happy to report that in the past few days in our care, she has gained a pound and we were finally able to give her a real bath.


With your help, Bella will never again know the horrors she suffered at the hands of her abuser, and once she has healed, she'll have the chance to find the loving home she so deserves.