A litter of young puppies have been found abandoned in south Armagh.
Six cross-breed puppies, at approximately eight-weeks-old, were found in a field in Whitecross.
They are currently undergoing treatment to prepare them for rehoming.
The pups were found by a member of the public who brought them into the care of the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA).
The USPCA said they were “dismayed” at the report of puppies being left to “fend for themselves” just after Christmas.
Colleen Tinnelly, USPCA Chief Operating Officer, said: “We are disheartened that despite numerous pleas to the public regarding responsible pet ownership, we are still seeing defenceless young animals being abandoned only weeks after Christmas.
“Following examination from our veterinary team, the six abandoned puppies are undergoing treatment and will hopefully be ready for rehoming in due course.
“We urge the public to think long and hard about their pets – are they neutered? Are you capable of looking after an unexpected litter? If not, we remind them to think as a responsible owner and have their pets neutered – there is absolutely no excuse for leaving young animals to suffer because you haven’t made this conscious decision.”
Colleen continued: “It is well known that animal charities across Northern Ireland are at full capacity. Unfortunately, in the months after Christmas we do brace ourselves for a further increase in unwanted animals and we try to accommodate as many as we can.
“Never have we seen cases like this so quick on the back of Christmas – we’re shocked and very disappointed that it continues to happen. Our advice on responsible pet ownership is clear – an animal is not a toy; it is a lifetime commitment and doesn’t come with a return policy.”