MIDLOTHIAN, Va. -- Five puppies believed to be less than a week old were found thrown away in a dumpster inside of a bag.
Sanctuary Rescue, a Midlothian foster-based dog rescue group, said a good Samaritan made the discovery in Halifax County. The non-profit shared the disturbing news on Facebook Sunday morning.
"We have now taken in three separate litters of newborn puppies that were thrown in dumpsters and left to die," Sanctuary Rescue volunteers posted. "Apparently this is a thing. And if our tiny little rescue outside of Richmond, Virginia has taken in three separate dumpster litters (no reason to believe they are related) in the past year or so, can you imagine how many puppies weren’t found and just went on to the landfill undetected?"
Licensed veterinarian technician Nicole Kennedy has been caring for the puppies since they arrived in Central Virginia on Saturday.
"Their eyes and ears are still shut so we are thinking they are definitely under 2 weeks old," Kennedy explained. "Somebody basically threw them in the dumpster to die. They didn’t want them anymore."
Shelter volunteers urged folks to do the right thing and not to throw away animals when they have an "accidental litter."
"You know, there are way worse things than an animal shelter. Most shelters are clean and dry and work hard to get dogs out whether it be through rescue or adoption. And most shelter workers have heard it all, so they won’t judge you when you surrender your pet and/or your pet’s puppies."
Animal lovers, like Kennedy, said she feared thinking about the 'what ifs.'
"There are people out here like us that will help and we just want to give those guys a chance. Please just don’t dispose of them like trash," she warned.
The puppies are currently being rehabbed at a Chesterfield animal hospital.
Officials said the rescued puppies "cleaned up nicely and are loving the bottle."
In a previous post, volunteers urged people to get their pets spayed and neutered "so there’s no temptation to throw the puppies in a dumpster."
Sanctuary Rescue organizers said to monitor their social media accounts to know when the puppies will be adoptable. They estimate the dogs will be ready in about eight weeks.