The Nova Scotia SPCA says a litter of newborn puppies found along the side of Highway 104 in Antigonish County this week is highlighting a common problem: people abandoning animals.
The puppies, just a few hours old and with umbilical cords still attached, were found inside a box in the community of Heatherton.
It was unclear if all of the seven puppies would survive when they were brought to the NS SPCA after being found, but so far they’re all doing well.
“They are vulnerable — they’re very, very young,” said NS SPCA spokesperson Karen DeWolfe.
“They have a lot of hurdles to get over in the next few weeks. The first few weeks are always very touch and go with any animal, kittens or puppies that are orphaned.”
DeWolfe says animal cruelty investigators are now trying to figure out who abandoned the puppies and are asking the public for help finding whoever is responsible.
“Anyone who may know of who could have done this, anyone who may know of a recently pregnant dog that’s no longer pregnant but doesn’t have any pups nearby. Words travel pretty quickly in small communities so we’re hopeful to get some insight,” DeWolfe said.
DeWolfe says dealing with abandoned animals is difficult and disheartening. The SPCA is hoping to use this as an educational opportunity and encourage people to think twice before throwing an animal away.
“This isn’t the steps that should have been taken,” DeWolfe said. “It’s very difficult for us — we get calls at all hours of the day and night that someone has seen kittens or puppies in a box or behind a garbage dump or the woods, in a ditch, in a garbage bag. It happens all the time.”
DeWolfe says abandoned animals are common in Nova Scotia, especially when it comes to kittens.
“We don’t often see as many abandoned puppies, but we see abandoned kittens constantly. All year long. It’s a very real problem that we deal with. The puppies usually get a little bit more exposure because people seem to have a closer attachment to their dogs than they do their cats, a lot of people think cats are disposable.”
At this time, the SPCA is not accepting adoption applications for the puppies. When they are eight weeks old, the puppies will join the Working On Our Future or WOOF program, which pairs puppies with inmates at the Burnside Correctional Facility for a canine therapy program.
The SPCA says they are accepting donations to help care for animals in their care.