ANIMAL lovers have spoken of their shock at the discovery of 11 dehydrated and poorly puppies – dumped outside a rescue centre in a plastic box.

The puppies were found at the Deerness Kennels Rescue Centre at Langley Moor, near Durham City, in the early hours of yesterday (November 17).

The eight dogs and three bitches are being cared and are “eating very well indeed”.

Simon Donnelly, chairman of the charity Supporters of Stray and Abandoned Dogs (SoSAD), said Kevin Forsyth, who owns and runs the rescue centre, was on duty when he noticed something on the CCTV camera.

Mr Donnelly said: “He thought something had been left at the gate and went to have a look, thinking it was blankets. That’s when he found the pups – 11 of them.

“He made sure they were fed and put them in heated kennels and arranged for a vet to check them out. They have been eating very well indeed.”

He added: “As you can see from the pictures taken of them, these collie/lurcher cross pups are so cute.

“It is shocking to think anyone could have left them like that – in plastic box covered in just a blanket during a very cold early morning.

“It is a stark reminder to people of the importance of having their dogs neutered, because the costs of veterinarian treatment is so great – you can imagined the costs of treating all of those dogs.”

If the pups are not claimed within seven days then they will be available for rehoming to loving and caring new owners.

SoSAD was set up in May 2008 by a group of friends to support and raise funds for the many stray and abandoned dogs coming into the Deerness Kennels Rescue Centre, with all their vet treatment before their re-homing met by the charity.

It has helped prevent more than 4,000 dogs from having to be put to sleep.

The charity is holding a Christmas Fair Meadowfield Working Mens Club in Meadowfield, near Durham City, from 11am to 3pm on Saturday December 1.

Deerness Kennels can be contacted 0191-378 0439.