They had to be treated for hypothermia, hunger and low blood sugar.

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Three puppies that were left for dead at a riverbank in County Donegal have been rescued.

They were discovered dangling over the water in a plastic bag that was caught on a barbed-wire fence on Wednesday night.

A member of the ISPCA attended the scene near Drumkeen, on the Letterkenny to Ballybofey road, and rescued the animals. He found three newborn collie pups inside the bag and they were immediately treated for hypothermia, hunger and low blood sugar.

ISPCA Senior Inspector Kevin McGinley said:

“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.

“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.

“The situation could easily have been avoided if the puppies’ mother had been spayed or if the dog’s owner had contacted the ISPCA for help. Spaying and Neutering is the obvious solution in preventing unwanted puppies from being born in the first place”.