An investigation is underway to find a thug who killed a litter of pups in Hartlepool by suffocating them before setting them on fire.
The RSPCA has launched an inquiry after three newborns were found with pink poo bags tied over their heads.
The charity says they were discovered in a box which had been set on fire.
The distressing discovery was made by a member of the public on a field behind Ocean Road, in the King Oswy area of Hartlepool at around 8pm on Saturday.
The RSPCA is appealing for information to find the culprit and has issues photos of the charred remains of the animals, but the Mail has decided not to publish them because they are upsetting.
Police were called, attended and collected the puppies before calling the RSPCA.
RSPCA Inspector Terri-Ann Fannon, who is investigating, said: “This must have been an absolutely shocking thing to come across.
“The fire must not have caught the box properly, as it had burned out when it was found, and when the member of the public looked inside they discovered the puppies.
“The pups had pink ‘poo bags’ tied around their tiny heads, suggesting that they were deliberately killed and set on fire to dispose of them.”
The puppies have been examined by a vet who believes they were healthy newborns - just a day or two old.
Inspector Fannon said: “They were too young for the vet to be able to identify their breed type but two of them were a light colour, cream or sandy - these were both males - and one was black - a female.
“If you have any specific information about who owned these puppies, or saw anything suspicious that might help my investigation, please call our appeal line on 0300 123 8018 and ask to leave a message for me.”
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website.