Two 4-week-old puppies were among those dumped in a record Christmas of cruel abandonments.
A heartless dog-owner dumped the cross-breed puppies in the garden of a home in Galway on Tuesday morning.
The puppies, who are thought to be a cross between a terrier and a collie, were found behind a bush in the garden by the home-owners, looking confused and scared.
The male and female, thought to be brother and sister, are light brown in colour and have dark brown eyes.
Sinead Kelly, 23, from Ballinderreen, Co.Galway, said the puppies must have been dumped by their owner over night.
She said: “We found them at the back of the hedge behind the house. They were hanging around and they looked absolutely terrified.
“Whoever dumped them must have driven to our gate and left them to wander into the garden.”
The 23-year-old said that she has been asked to keep the puppies for a week as the local animal shelter is over-capacity after a string of abandonments over the Christmas holidays.
“They don’t have enough space for them. They’re completely full.
“It’s a terrible thing to happen. It’s so awful that someone would do that to poor innocent puppies. They can’t fend for themselves and they’re absolutely terrified.
“We’ve been feeding them hot milk, and rubbing them so they get used to being around people who will care for them.
“They look clean so we think they might have been a present for Christmas. The schools went back on Monday so it seems like a strange coincidence that they were dumped the next day.
“They were just so lucky that they wandered into our garden. If it had been someone else’s garden, they might have been dumped all over again.”
A spokeswoman for the animal charity Galway Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has condemned the cold-hearted act.
Margaret O’Sullivan said: “This is a sheer case of irresponsibility. Judging by their size, they are no more than four or five weeks old. The owners do not care about these puppies and they were just cruelly dumped. It’s terrible, because they are absolutely beautiful.
“They are male and female and we would love them to find a loving home somewhere as soon as possible .
“This is a common occurrence and we’ve had such a busy few weeks taking in animals over the Christmas. It’s been our busiest yet.
“People say they cannot afford to keep an animal and yet they will go out for a drink at the weekend without thought.
“If you are thinking about getting a dog, always plan ahead and start saving for vaccinations and food straight away. You have to go into it with your eyes open.”
“We are asking anyone who has an unwanted animal to approach us, instead of just dumping them. We can help but you just have to work with us.
“We will look after any unwanted animals but owners who cannot afford to keep them must be patient and wait for a vacancy,” she added.
The GSPCA can be contacted on 00353 (0) 91 563631