A litter of new-born puppies was discovered dumped inside a shoebox on the doorstep of a Wellingborough vets.
A box containing six tiny puppies, thought to be Staffordshire bull terriers, was found on the doorstep of Swanspool Vets in London Road on Friday morning.
The three boys and three girls are a new-born litter.
All are described as being in a good condition and “fairly strong”, despite their ordeal.
Staff at the vets are urging the owner to seek medical attention for the puppies’ mother. They say she will be suffering as a result of the separation.
Veterinary nurse Stacey Villiers said: “The bitch is going to be missing the puppies.
“The owner needs to get her checked out to make sure she’s OK because she could have mastitis as she’s not feeding, and she’ll be pining for them.
“I don’t think the puppies were left overnight because there was a fog that night and the box was dry. They had been wrapped up in a little towel and put in the box.”
The nurse said no-one at the veterinary practice could remember animals being dumped outside the premises before.
She said: “We have never come across anything being dumped on our doorstep.
“One of my colleagues has worked here for 17 years and she can’t remember anything like this.
“I think there’s a lot more of it going on now because people are struggling to look after animals.
“We always say that if you can’t look after a pet, we would rather they were brought in to us.
“But the owners need to be more responsible and get their animals neutered.”
It is the second case of animal neglect the staff at the vets surgery have had to deal with in a few days.
Two black female cats were found dumped in Castle Fields last Monday.
They were discovered in a cat carrier, which had been secured using a dog lead in order to prevent the cats getting out of the cage.
They were taken to the vets, where they are now being looked after.
Once the puppies are old enough they will be taken to an animal sanctuary.
Anyone who is interested in adopting them can contact Swanspool Vets on 01933 222145.