A LURCHER puppy has been found dead inside a bag by a pond and another caught wandering the streets in an emaciated state.

A walker found a white lurcher puppy wrapped in a bin liner and zipped inside a holdall at the edge of the pond on Brinkburn Nature Reserve, off Hartington Way, Darlington, on Monday afternoon.

It is unclear whether the puppy, thought to be around 15-weeks old, was dead before he was put inside the bag and dumped, or whether he was thrown into the water and left to drown.

On the same afternoon a second lurcher puppy was found on Quaker Lane and had to be put down by a vet who decided its condition was so poor it was unlikely to survive.

The second puppy, aged between eight and ten weeks, was brindle and not thought to be from the same litter as the one found at the nature reserve.

Worryingly, both puppies were suspected to be suffering from parvovirus – a highly contagious disease which causes bleeding, diarrhoea and often leads to death in very young or very old dogs that have not been vaccinated.

The RSPCA is investigating and Inspector Lucy Hoehne said: “Both animals were very underweight and without a post mortem we can’t say for definite, but both were showing signs of suspected parvovirus.

“They are definitely not from the same litter, they are far too different in size, but it could be that they have come from the same household where there are two litters.

“The likelihood with parvovirus is that if one puppy gets it, the rest will, and the chance of them fighting it off is very low.”

Insp Hoehne urged dog owners to ensure their pets are vaccinated against parvovirus and asked anybody with any suspicions about where the puppies came from to get in touch.

She said: “There are potentially people out there that might know something about either of these cases.

“Any information could be useful; it might just be someone letting us know that they’ve bought a puppy recently that had parvovirus.”

The white puppy could have been dumped in the lake several hours before he was found at about 4pm on Monday, so anyone who saw anybody with a large holdall acting suspiciously in the area at that time is asked to call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 and ask for Inspector Lucy Hoehne.