On Thursday, a dog-walker discovered four cockapoo puppies in a deserted Cambridgeshire shed. Two of the animals were dead.
Aged six to seven weeks old, the puppies were identified by the walker's dog, who picked up their scent. The owner was led to an open-fronted shed in Decoy Road, Gorefield.
They found two alive, but emaciated puppies, along with two dead ones.
Last year, the RSPCA's cruelty hotline received 55,821 calls over the Christmas period.
More than 8,000 animals spent Christmas in the charity's care last year.
The RSPCA believe the two dead pups died overnight on Wednesday 5 December. They are likely to have been there for least two days.
The two live puppies, named Bramble and Crumble, are now at the RSPCA’s Block Fen Animal Centre in March, Cambridgeshire.
The RSPCA don't want people to call the centre about adopting, as at this stage the pair are not available for rehoming.
They are still poorly and require ongoing veterinary treatment at the moment.