A dog was cruelly dumped on a doorstep while in labour – causing one of her puppies to die.
The pregnant pooch was found inside a crate alongside the pup, which died shortly after being born.
The black Chihuahua-terrier cross was rushed to a vet for emergency caesarean, which ensured her two remaining puppies survived.
The dog, now called Bella, is being cared for with her young by Fenland Animal Rescue, 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.
“Thankfully, we can report that both Bella and her remaining two puppies are alive and well at this time. All three will remain in our 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.
Joshua added: “The person who dumped her would have known exactly what was going on.
“They would have seen the dead puppy, and heard Bella howling in agony.
“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.”
Anyone with any information should email email@example.com or call the RSPCA on 03001234999.