The RSPCA is investigating after a litter of puppies were found dumped in a bin bag in woodland just hours after being born.
The 11 dogs still had their umbilical cords attached when they were found by a passersby off Heath Lane, Huddersfield, on Monday, 20 June.
RSPCA deputy chief inspector Sara Jordan, who is now investigating, said: "It’s so lucky that there were people passing who went to look inside this bag because the puppies were only hours old and were extremely vulnerable."
The pups, which are thought to be German shepherds, were taken to a local vet, where one had to be put to sleep.
A further four have since lost their lives because of infection and congenital problems.
The RSPCA is now investigating to find out the person responsible.
Deputy Chief Inspector Jordan added: "I’m really concerned that there’s a bitch somewhere who has just given birth to these puppies and could require veterinary attention.
"I’m also 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, more of them could have easily died.
"Times are tough at the moment and we understand that many families are struggling to cope, particularly given the rising cost of living, and we fear that we’ll see many, many more pets being relinquished to charities or abandoned because their owners simply don’t know where to turn.
"But abandoning tiny puppies like this is so irresponsible and cruel."
RSPCA staff are now providing the puppies, who should be with their mothers until at least eight-weeks-old, with round-the-clock care.
The inspector said: "The puppies will need to be hand-reared and require very intense care as they’re completely reliant on us, as they would be their mother.
"I’m caring for a little girl called Tippy who needs feeding every 90 minutes. I have to take her everywhere with me and keep a very close eye on her.
"Hand-rearing is incredibly difficult and, sadly, we’ve lost four - some due to infection and some due to congenital problems - but thankfully the remaining six are now doing really well and get stronger and stronger every day."
Anyone with information about the puppies should contact the RSPCA’s appeal line, confidentially, on 0300 1238018.
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