The RSPCA is appealing for information about how a crate of five puppies came to be left in a rural location in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire.
A dog walker discovered the litter on 24 October when his dog pulled him over to the straw-lined metal crate, which had been left in place rarely visited by anyone.
Inside, two eight-week-old crossbreed puppies were living alongside the bodies of their three dead siblings.
Inspector Lauren Bailey said, “The cage was dumped in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere. No one could have stumbled across them and saved them in time.
“I suspect they were all alive when they were dumped, with a bowl of food but with no water or shelter, and one by one they perished.
“The three bodies were riddled with maggots so I believe they’d been dead for a few days.”
Sadly one of the two living puppies was in such a poor state he passed away, but the remaining puppy has been called Barney and is doing well in local foster care under the supervision of the RSPCA. He has been treated for campylobacter, a bacterial infection, and had an ingrown eyelash removed, but will soon be available for rehoming. He is believed to be a Beagle cross Jack Russell.
Inspector Bailey added, “I’m keen to hear from anyone who might recognise these pups or who knows how they ended up abandoned here.
“To leave vulnerable, defenceless puppies alone in the cold wintry weather is unthinkable and, sadly, most of these babies have lost their lives.
“It’s not clear how they came to be here, so anyone who may be able to help our investigation should give us a call on 0300 123 8018.
“It could be that they were an unplanned litter and their owners simply didn’t know what to do with them. That’s why the RSPCA is so keen to encourage owners to get their dogs neutered to avoid unwanted puppies coming into the world.
“Or, it could be something much more sinister, and this litter could have been dumped by a puppy farmer in the area who failed to sell them and didn’t want to use up any more resources on them.”
Images via RSPCA.