Emaciated puppies dumped on side of road in taped box are believed to be Christmas gifts

WHITE OAK, Pa. — The three emaciated puppies that were abandoned on the side of a road are getting stronger each day, including Mira, who is so skinny, that you can see her spine and ribs through her skin. White Oak Animal Safe Haven in Allegheny County is caring for the curious, playful and adorable Pit Bull mixes.

The three scrawny puppies came to the no-kill shelter on Thursday extremely malnourished and with bloated bellies filled with worms.

“It was very, very bad. These poor little guys,” said White Oak Animal Safe Haven Animal Care Specialist Sarah Moore.

The staff said a man brought the six-week-old puppies to the shelter after finding them dumped along the side of Connellsville Street in Fayette City. They were inside a urine-soaked cardboard box that was taped shut.

“When we untaped the box, tons of feces, kind of like they’ve been in there for quite some time,” Moore said. “They were covered in it. The smell was so bad, it made all of our eyes water.”

The trio of siblings now have names - big brother Maddox; the little guy is Mighty, and tiny Mira, who staff said is in the worst condition they’ve ever seen.

The shelter’s cat coordinator, Mackenzie Demme, believes the cute and cuddly pups are Christmas puppies that were bred by so-called backyard breeders looking to make a quick buck.

“Having puppies pop up on Craigslist and Facebook and a lot of places like that is not uncommon at this time of year,” Demme said. “So, we wouldn’t be shocked at all of these were bred on a schedule to be Christmas puppies to make that quote-unquote breeder some extra money and then when they got sick, they were probably let go. Now granted, that’s all speculation but based on our history and what we’ve seen, we wouldn’t be surprised.”

The staff said this time of year, the shelter gets a lot of animals that are dumped.

“People are breeding them a lot faster than we can rescue them, and so many people get a fun, cute puppy, not prepared for all of the care and money that it entails,” Demme said. “That’s how they either end up surrendered to us, dumped on the side of the road, whatever the case may be.”

The shelter is reminding people that abandoning animals is a crime.

“We just beg that people spay or neuter their pets,” said Demme. “Be that person that is responsible for them and do the right thing for them, not just give it to someone else and make it their responsibility.”

More than 30 people offered to be fosters and the staff is now reviewing all those applications. They said once they’re all healthy enough, they should be up for adoption in several weeks.

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