A pregnant dog was dumped on a doorstep as she went into labour – causing one of her puppies to die.
The black chihuahua-terrier cross was found inside a crate next to her tiny pup but it had died shortly after being born.
The dog – now named Bella – was rushed to a vet for an emergency caesarean, meaning her two remaining puppies survived.
Bella and her babies are now being cared for by Fenland Animal Rescue, based in Cambridge, who are trying to track down her owners.
Joshua Flanagan, from the animal charity, said the situation was ‘absolutely tragic’.
‘She was in all this pain and discomfort, howling at the top of her lungs when we found her after we were called by police, he said.
‘It was 1C (34F) outside when we turned up and she was in a wire crate.
‘We see abandoned animals and strays on a weekly basis, but it’s the first time we’ve seen an animal dumped when they’re in so much need.
‘This is a case that has shocked us all.’
Joshua said that both Bella and her remaining two puppies are alive and well and will remain in the charity’s care as they continue to grow.
Bella, believed to be around 12-18 months old, was found in Abbotsley, Cambs, at around 5.34pm on November 2.
‘The person who dumped her would have known exactly what was going on,’ Joshua said.
‘They must have thought ‘I don’t want that vet bill, I can’t afford that’ and then left the crate on the doorstep of a well-off family who could sort it out.
‘We need to find whoever did this so the RSPCA or police can speak to them.
‘Had she not been found, she most certainly would not have survived.’