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'Disturbing': Three newborn puppies found dangling over river in plastic bag

The ISPCA has issued an appeal for information following Wednesday’s discovery.

puppies-fly-tipped-like-pieces-of-trash-and-left-dangling-for-de ISPCA ISPCA

THREE NEWBORN PUPPIES have been rescued by the ISPCA after they were found in a plastic bag dangling over a river near Drumkeen in Co Donegal. 

The dogs were discovered on Wednesday night after a member of the public alerted a local vet to what they thought was kittens abandoned in a bag near a crossing of the river that was inaccessible.

Vet Alexander Smyth was at the scene shortly after receiving the call at 9pm. 

On arrival, he found the plastic bag hanging from a strand of barbed wire at the top of a fence and proceeded to perform a “specialist” rescue in fear of the bag becoming detached or ripped above the fast-moving water.

It was only then that he discovered three newborn collie puppies. 

The puppies, who are no more than ten days old, were treated for hypothermia, hypoglycaemia and hunger before being placed in the care of Donegal ISPCA.


puppies-fly-tipped-like-pieces-of-trash-and-left-dangling-for-de ISPCA ISPCA

“This is a tragedy in this day and age with so many animal charities and places that are willing to care for these animals, the suffering of these animals could have been avoided,” Smyth said. 

“The dedicated staff at Donegal ISPCA were thankfully able to take these puppies into their care, for that we owe them a debt of gratitude. The puppies are doing well but will require intensive support as they are very young and now orphans, and the ISPCA team will continue to provide this over the coming weeks.”

Smyth added that animals in these situations are stressed and can pose risks to persons attempting to rescue them, while environments such as rivers and confined spaces can pose further hazards to rescuers. 

“So you should not attempt any rescues of wildlife, pets or farm animals without specialist training and when completely safe to do so. Contact the ISPCA, Fire Service or your local Veterinary Surgeon for advice.”




The ISPCA has issued an urgent appeal for information concerning the abandonment of the three puppies, which it would like to remind dog owners is a criminal offence. 

“It is disturbing how anyone could be so cruel and heartless, to put three vulnerable little puppies in a plastic bag leaving them to dangle over a river to an inevitable death. There is just no words,” ISPCA Senior Inspector Kevin McGinley said.

“These three puppies are lucky to be alive thanks to the kind-hearted member of the public and to Smyth Veterinary Services for rescuing them.  It’s unclear how long the puppies were there, but they are now receiving round the clock care at the ISPCA Animal Rehabilitation Centre.”

McGinley said the situation could have been avoided if the puppies’ mother had been spayed or if the dog’s owner had contacted the ISPCA for help. 

Anybody with information is asked to contact the National Animal Cruelty Helpline in confidence on 1890 515 515 or to make a report online here.


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