RSPCA South Australia are appealing to the public after eight kelpie puppies were dumped in a bin at a truck rest stop in the Riverland.
The animal rescue organisation has released a statement on social media begging for people to come forward if they have any information.
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"A passing motorist found the five-week-old Kelpie-cross puppies by chance yesterday afternoon after pulling into the remote rest stop, located between Wigley Flat and Kingston on Murray," the RSPCA said.
A mum and daughter said they heard whimpering sound coming from the bin during their rest. The woman had to kick off the lid because it was so heavy and was shocked to discover what was inside.
"Inside, underneath some rubbish, she found two Drover brand 20kg dog food bags, one sitting on top of the other. Both bags had coat hanger wire wrapped around the zip-locks.After managing to unwind the wire and lift the puppies out of each bag," the RSPCA continued.
"Two puppies that had been in the bottom bag were limp, covered in maggots and unresponsive."
"We were immediately alerted and an RSPCA South Australia Inspector rushed the puppies to a veterinary clinic. Unfortunately, the two seriously ill puppies did not survive."
"The remaining six puppies are now in our care. All are flea-infested and dehydrated, but - despite their shocking ordeal - our veterinary team expects them to all recover fully."
The animal welfare organisation added that they are urgently seeking information from anyone from the area who can assist them in identifying the person responsible.
"If you know of anyone who has had a litter of puppies that seem to have suddenly disappeared or has a female Kelpie-type dog that is showing signs of having recently given birth, but there are no puppies, please contact RSPCA South Australia's 24-hour cruelty hotline on 1300 4 777 22."
The organisation's chief inspector Andrea Lewis said the dumping of the live animals showed a major lack of empathy from the perpetrator.
"Someone might know who did this, and if they do, then they should report what they know to us because whoever did this should be held to account," she said. "This incident falls into the highest end of callous treatment of animals," Lewis said.
"These puppies were found purely by chance, and we have no idea how long they had been there."
"You would have to assume that whoever did this did not want those puppies to survive because this person has not only left them in a remote location, but they have also put these young animals inside tightly secured bags and then put the bin's lid down."
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