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The Scottish SPCA is appealing for information after four dead puppies were found on a country road in Fife.

The rest were found under bushes and were thought to have been thrown from a car in a bag which was found in tree.

The puppies were found to have died from exposure, meaning they were probably alive when dumped.

The dogs were estimated to be between three and four weeks old and of a large breed. Three of them were black and tan while the fourth was white.

Insp Steven Gray, of the Scottish SPCA, said: "The results of a post-mortem have confirmed that the puppies died from exposure, so it is most likely that they were alive when they were dumped.

"Although this is a quiet country road, it is used frequently by people travelling between Glenrothes and Kennoway. We think the puppies were dumped between Wednesday and Thursday.

"The weather was quite cold in the evenings last week so they had no chance of survival.

"The evidence suggests that they may have been thrown from a car, in a bag, and then they have fallen out onto the ground. One puppy was found some distance from the others on its stomach, which could indicate that it had tried to crawl away."

Insp Gray added that officers were also concerned about the health of the puppies' mother.

There is absolutely no excuse for abandoning animals in such a cruel and callous way, particularly puppies which can be re-homed far more easily than adult dogs," he said.

This is the latest in a spate of dog abandonments across the country in recent months, coming only two weeks after three Rottweiler puppies were dumped in a bin at a lay-by near Dollar, Clackmannanshire. They later died.

Other incidents have been reported in Dumfries, Ayrshire, Fraserburgh, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The animal welfare charity warned that anyone found guilty of abandoning an animal and allowing it to be caused unnecessary suffering could expect to be banned from owning animals.

They could also face penalties up to a maximum of 12 months in prison, a £20,000 fine or both.

Anyone with information relating to the puppies should contact the Scottish SPCA's animal helpline on 03000 999 999.