Rescuers have helped an injured in-calf cow who had become stuck in a muddy river in Bedfordshire following a suspected dog attack.
The cow was discovered in the River Ouse, Leighton Buzzard, on 5 September by a passer-by who heard distressed calls.
The cow was suffering from a wound down the left hand side, across her shoulder and neck.
According to rescuers from the fire service and the RSPCA, the water was up to half of the cow’s body and the river was muddy and slippery.
Her injuries were 'indicative of a dog attack', according to rescuers, and there is a public footpath by the river.
The farmer was informed following the incident and a vet was called to assess the cow.
RSPCA Inspector Lauren Bailey attended alongside Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Services.
She said: “Not only was the cow injured but she was also pregnant so we knew we needed to be extra careful.
"I worked alongside the fire services who sent a speciality team trained in animal rescue. However, it was still a tricky rescue and took a couple of hours to get the cow.
"We had to put rope underneath her and then carefully pull her out. She was a heavy girl and it took seven men and me to eventually pull her to safety.”
Ms Bailey added that it was 'very likely' that the cow was attacked by an out-of-control dog.
"We’d like to remind dog walkers to keep dogs on a lead and under control around livestock or in fields where they suspect farm animals could be grazing.
“Whilst the vast majority of people take care, accidents can happen and even the most docile and obedient dogs can get distracted and excited by other animals.
“We would also urge farmers to have good fencing to protect their animals and would encourage them to put up prominent signs to warn dog walkers."
It comes after a loose dog killed four in-calf dairy cows on farmland in North Wales, with the police urging anyone with information to come forward.
The incident happened between 23 August - 24 August in Anglesey, according to North Wales Police rural crime team.
According to the latest figures available by NFU Mutual, farm animals worth £1.8m were severely injured or killed by dogs last year a 50% increase.
The rural insurer said it was 'crucial' for the public to 'act responsibly' with dogs, particularly against the backdrop of this year’s lambing season.