Three puppies were found crammed into a food waste bin and abandoned in a Kent country park.
The cockapoos, believed to be around eight weeks old, were discovered by a member of the public at Leybourne Lakes Country Park on Monday morning (14 November).
They were rushed to RSPCA Leybourne Animal Centre but sadly one of the puppies, a female, had already died.
The two remaining puppies, a male and a female, were riddled with worms and are now receiving veterinary care in the hope they can pull through.
Inspector Rosie Russon, who is now leading an investigation, said: "The prognosis is guarded but we’re giving them the best chance we can and we really hope they pull through."
It is thought the puppies were abandoned by a breeder who was unable to sell them.
Rosie added: "We don’t know where these puppies have come from but we suspect they’ve been abandoned by a breeder after failing to sell; or because they suspected poor health and couldn’t afford the veterinary care they’d need."
The animal charity is urging anyone who has any information about the incident, or saw anything suspicious in the area to contact the appeal line on 0300 123 8018.
Meanwhile it says rescue centres are currently 'full to bursting', believe to be linked to the ongoing cost of living crisis.
The charity is spending an estimated £26,000 per week on private boarding facilities due to capacity issues.