The RSPCA is appealing for information after its officers made a shocking discovery of four dead kittens who were dumped in a cardboard box in Darlington.

All four animals, who were around three weeks old, had suffered puncture wounds to their chests, possibly the result of having been bitten by a dog, according to the animal charity.

RSPCA inspector Gemma Lynch says the circumstances surrounding their deaths are unclear, but the possibility that the kittens were used for dog baiting should not be ruled out.

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“The vet believes the wounds are bite marks, but we don’t know whether this was as a result of a deliberate attack by a dog or dogs or not,” she said.

“It does seem a bit strange that all four had suffered similar wounds and their bodies had been placed in a cardboard box, which was found in a back alley. We are speaking to residents nearby to see if anyone may have seen something.

“At the moment we can’t say how they died, but it does look like the kittens have been attacked by something, although it’s difficult to say by what.

“The worst-case scenario is that, sadly, they have been used to train dogs to fight. We have had incidents of dog baiting in the region previously.

The Northern Echo: Two of the dead kittens. Picture: RSPCATwo of the dead kittens. Picture: RSPCA

“This is why the RSPCA has launched its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign which appeals for the public to support us in investigating cases like this and to help rescue teams out on the frontline continue to save animals.”

The black and white kittens were found in the cardboard box left near Wylam Avenue on the morning of August 3 by a member of the public, who then took his grisly find to Vets4Pets in Darlington.

If anyone has any information about how the kittens died and how they came to be dumped, or who knows the identity of their owners, they are asked to call the RSPCA appeals line on 0300 123 8018.

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