The RSPCA has launched an investigation after five puppies, three of which were deceased, were left in a crate in a remote field in Chipping Norton.
The eight-week-old puppies were found locked in a crate in the middle of a field in Idbury, Chipping Norton, by a dog walker and the RSPCA were called.
One of the two puppies found alive has since died.
Inspector Lauren Bailey said: “The cage was dumped in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere.
“No one could have stumbled across them and saved them in time. In fact, the only reason they were found is because a walker’s dog dragged him over to them.
“I suspect they were all alive when they were dumped, with a bowl of food but with no water or shelter, and one by one they perished.
“The three bodies were riddled with maggots so I believe they’d been dead for a few days.”
The dogs, a mix of brown and white crossbreeds, were left in the metal straw-lined crate and found on October 24. There were no clear signs of disease or obvious signs of death amongst the dead pups and sadly the fourth puppy later died at the vets.
The surviving puppy has been named Barney and is was taken to the RSPCA’s Oxfordshire branch.
Barney is believed to be a Jack Russell and Beagle mix and is thriving in foster care. He was treated for campylobacter and needs an ingrown eyelash removed.
Inspector Bailey added: “I’m keen to hear from anyone who might recognise these pups or who knows how they ended up abandoned here.
“To leave vulnerable, defenceless puppies alone in the cold wintry weather is unthinkable and, sadly, most of these babies have lost their lives.
“It’s not clear how they came to be here, so anyone who may be able to help our investigation should give us a call on 0300 123 8018.
“It could be that they were an unplanned litter and their owners simply didn’t know what to do with them. That’s why the RSPCA is so keen to encourage owners to get their dogs neutered to avoid unwanted puppies coming into the world.
“Or, it could be something much more sinister, and this litter could have been dumped by a puppy farmer in the area who failed to sell them and didn’t want to use up any more resources on them.”
The RSPCA has seen a huge increase in the number of calls to its cruelty line over the last few years from members of the public reporting the puppy trade. This prompted the country’s oldest and largest animal welfare charity to launch its Scrap the Puppy Trade campaign to tackle the issue.