10 Newborn puppies with umbilical cords still attached were found floating in a garbage bag in New River, Giles County, Virginia. No matter how many stories I see and read everyday, the depths of people’s cruelty still stuns me. I can’t even imagine how someone could pick up those tiny little warm squirming puppies, undoubtedly whimpering and crying for their momma, dump them one by one in a plastic garbage bag, tie it up, take it to the river and toss it in. How cruel and heartless a person must be to do something like that!

April Lowry is convinced it takes a sleazebag to throw a trash bag full of newborn puppies into the river.

The Giles County incident was first reported Thursday night.

Lowry, a volunteer with Giles County Animal Rescue, said she got a call from county animal control officer David King.

“He called me and said, ‘Guess what?’ It can never be good news when they’re calling you at 10 at night,” Lowry said.

King had been summoned to a campsite off Klotz Road along the New River in Ripplemead shortly before calling her.

Several people camping near Big Stony Creek said they heard whimpering noises coming from the river and went to investigate. They spotted a black trash bag floating on the current, fished it out and looked inside.

“To their surprise, they found 10 puppies, newborn puppies,” Lowry said. “They’re absolutely adorable. They’re all pink around their mouths and feet. They’ve still got their umbilical cords.”

Lowry estimates that the mixed-breed pups were born July 4 or 5. Apparently, they had not been in the bag very long when they were rescued by the alert campers.

King, who has worked as an animal control officer since February, said this is the first time he has encountered an abuse case like this.

“It definitely was not the highlight of my day,” he said. “You’ve got to wonder what kind of mentality someone has in regard to life to do something like that.”

King said the campers took charge of the puppies’ well-being right away.

“They were already taking care of them when I got there. They had the puppies in a furry dog bed.”

The campers even took two of the puppies to nurse until they can be adopted. State law requires that puppies be 7 weeks old before being adopted.

Lowry said her friend Mary Neice is caring for the eight others temporarily. Neice said she felt sad for the “uneducated” person who dropped the puppies in the river — and for the mother dog, too.

“She’s probably looking for her babies,” she said. “If their dog had been spayed in the first place, they wouldn’t have to throw them in the river.”

Neice said people with unwanted puppies have several options for placing them.

“They could go to the Giles County Animal Rescue, the dog pound, the sheriff’s office. Any number of resources in Giles County alone would have taken the animals.”

Now, King noted, whoever’s responsible for dumping the pups in the river faces criminal charges.

“It’s still under investigation. We’re going to make an attempt to find out who did it, and there’s the potential of animal cruelty charges,” he said. “Anything that’s a felony, of course, is a minimum year in prison. There could be fines, as well.”

Anyone with information about the incident should contact the Giles County Sheriff’s Office at 921-3842. (The Roanoke Times)

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