ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) - Thrift store employees got quite the surprise when they reached into two bins used for donations like clothing, and heard a whimper all the way at the bottom. When they looked closer, they found one puppy after another; nearly a dozen.
Shelter officials said some of the dogs were too young to be away from their mom, while others were covered in ticks. They were all left in a cold box until someone finally found them.
"The mom and one pup was here, and then two more pups were inside here," said Cassie Gross, with the Roswell Humane Society, as she pointed to donation bins.
A mom and her three pups were dumped inside donation bins, clearly labeled "papers only" with no ventilation overnight. "This bin gets super cold at night during the winter, and it turns into an inferno in the summer," said Gross. "Its no place for any animals to be thrown in there."
Gross said that didn't stop whoever abandoned the family of four, not knowing how soon someone would find them.
The Humane Society runs off of donations and money made from the connected thrift store. The same day the family of four dogs was found covered in ticks, around the corner in a separate donation bin for household items, seven small pit bull-mix puppies were discovered.
"We'd come to work and a gentleman was trying to donate some articles of clothing and different boxed items to our thrift store donation bin," recalled Gross, "and when he tossed in a bag, he heard a yelp."
It's at least a two foot drop to the bottom of the bin, and a fall like that could have injured the pups. Thankfully, Gross said that didn't happen, but she added, the hungry pups were too young to be away from their mom.
"You put them in a box overnight, frigid temperatures overnight, unweaned puppies, that's a recipe for death," said Gross. She said people have dumped pets in the Humane Society's parking lot, and abandonment is an ongoing problem.
"Unfortunately some people just don't care, they just want that burden off of them and onto someone else they don't want to have to take responsibility," said Gross. "We don't judge, if you need to bring your animals in, bring your animals in, we will deal with that, but throwing them in an bin is not helping the puppies."
For now, the dogs' living conditions have been upgraded to a cage at Animal Control, as they wait for someone to adopt them. "Its at least a step up from being thrown in a box, at least they have a chance now, maybe."
Since the Human Society relies on donations to run, workers don't want to lock the donation bins after hours. They said if someone can't care for their animals, to bring them into the shelter. Animal Control officials said the 11 dogs will likely be up for adoption this week.
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