The RSPCA has rescued 20 puppies who were found abandoned in a metal crate on the side of the road near Fryerning, Essex.
Each weighing less than a bag of sugar, the surviving 14 males and five females were taken straight to the local vets for treatment. While the breed has not yet been confirmed (they are likely to be cockapoos or poodle crosses), the team believe they are from two or possible more separate litters and may have been kept on a puppy farm without human contact.
Apart from having worms, each of the puppies thankfully appeared to be quite healthy. There was an original concern they may have contracted parvovirus, but they were all given fluids with glucose when they arrived. Sadly, one pup didn't make it and was put down by the vets to prevent her suffering further.
"When I was told how many puppies there were I actually thought there was a mistake - I couldn't believe that someone had abandoned 20 puppies," inspector Sian Ridley says. "They were all quite scared and timid when we arrived and it was just heartbreaking to see them all huddled in the one cage – they looked a pitiful sight.
"Times are tough at the moment, but abandoning tiny puppies like this is so irresponsible and cruel. Please, please never abandon your pet but ask for help before things get so desperate."
The RSPCA is now calling on members of the public to come forward. Sian adds: "I'm keen to hear from anyone who may know who is responsible for abandoning these puppies in such an irresponsible way.
"They were so young and vulnerable, it is likely that someone just drove up in the layby, got them out of the car and then just left them - so I am keen to speak to anyone who may have seen a suspicious vehicle in the area on Friday 29th July."
Anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area or has any information that could assist the RSPCA's investigation should contact the charity's appeal line on 0300 123 8018. We hope these pups will find a loving new home soon.
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