FOUR puppies were abandoned close to a North-East dog rehoming centre and were rescued by a passerby who saw them being dumped.

The four eight-week-old puppies were crammed into a small cat carrier and placed next to a hedgerow near Darlington Dogs Trust access gate early on Friday morning.

Luckily a member of the public saw the pups being left near the Sadberge centre and alerted Dogs Trust staff who began a search of the undergrowth.

After being found, the puppies were named them Thorn, Nettle and Thistle – after the surroundings in which they were found – and Kevin – after the staff member that found them.

Sue Embleton, Dogs Trust Darlington centre manager, said: “Our centre looks after over a thousand abandoned and unwanted dogs every year, but it still shocks us to think that someone could abandon these poor puppies in such a way.

“The spot where they were dumped is not in clear view from the centre and, if it hadn’t been for the member of the public, they could have been there for several hours before they were noticed.

“If someone needs to give up their dog for whatever reason we always encourage them to come in to the centre to talk this through with staff.”

Apart from being covered in fleas and having their tails docked, which is illegal in this country except for specific working breeds, the crossbreed puppies were in reasonable condition.

They are currently being pampered by Dogs Trust staff and will be monitored for a few days at the centre before being made available for rehoming.

Darlington Borough Council’s Dog Warden has been informed of the incident and is interested to hear from anyone who may have any information.

Anyone interested in rehoming one of the pups should contact 01325-333114.