American bulldog puppies are found abandoned in layby
Abandoned American bulldog puppies were found dumped in a layby by a gang of men - with one too unwell to survive.
The puppies were found in a dog crate, in Trenholme Lane, Hutton Rudby, Yarm, on December 29, and were left by a gang in a black BMW SUV who were spotted by a couple driving by.
The men, who were wearing face masks, made off after leaving the dogs.
The puppies are thought to have been not sold at Christmas time.
They were taken home by the kind-hearted pair, who then contacted the RSPCA. The couple took the animals to the vets for treatment, but sadly, one of them was so unwell that vets put him down.
It is thought the young bulldogs may have been owned by illegal puppy breeders, who, after failing to sell them over Christmas, have callously chosen to abandon them.
The RSPCA and North Yorkshire Police are trying to find those responsible and would like to hear from anyone who has any information about the vehicle - the first part of whose registration plate appeared to read CJ65.
RSPCA chief inspector Mark Gent, who is investigating, said: 'We are working with the police to try to find the people who left these poor puppies in a situation which could have seen them all not making it through the night. Some of the dogs were underweight and their ribs were clearly visible, while they were all covered in faeces.
'Fortunately, a couple out driving saw these men pull up in a BMW at the layby and after they left they took the puppies home with them. It may well be that these are puppies that have not been sold for Christmas and therefore they have become a problem rather than a source of money for someone, which has led to the decision to dump them.
'What is interesting is we've had other dogs abandoned in this area previously.'
This kind of abandonment is on the increase and the RSPCA has seen a shocking 25% rise in the overall number of abandonment incidents along with a 13 per cent rise in neglect incidents being dealt with by rescue teams.
The charity's most recent figures show that up to October 2022, its rescuers dealt with 13,159 incidents of abandonment, which has risen from 10,519 for the same time period the previous year.