Luckily, a quick-thinking member of the public managed to round up the puppies and kept them safe in his garden as the RSPCA arrived to take them into care.
A week after being rescued, the animal charity has released a heartwarming video of the puppies feeding and wagging their tails as they recover from one of the most irritating and contagious infections to afflict dogs – sarcoptic mange.
The infestation – also known as canine scabies – is caused by a burrowing mite that leaves an animal scratching and biting for relief, only to leave their skin red raw.
Because the pups are aged around nine weeks, the RSPCA fears they were abandoned because they were in too bad a condition to sell.
RSPCA Inspector Kris Walker said: “As well as being very scared, these poor puppies were in a terrible physical state.
“They were thin and had extensive hair loss and scabby, reddened and sore skin. Tests have revealed they have sarcoptic mange.
“It seems very likely that they were dumped and that this was the reason why.”
After emergency veterinary care, the three cockapoos – biscuit-coloured Olive, black and white Emmy and all-black Gus – have been settling in at the RSPCA Doncaster, Rotherham & District branch animal centre, where they happily playing and feeding.
The RSPCA has launched an investigation into the way the cockapoos were discovered in Deerstone Ridge, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, earlier this month.
Inspector Walker said: “It’s an absolute joy to see them already looking so much better, running around and playing with each other, and generally behaving like puppies should.
“There is a long way to go before they will be ready for adoption, but the animal centre has already taken a number of calls from people interested in giving them a forever home so the future is definitely looking bright for them.”
Anyone with any information about who the puppies belonged to, or who saw anything they think might help the RSPCA investigation, is asked to calls its confidential appeals line on 0300 123 8018.
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