AN appeal has been launched after three newborn puppies were found dead in a canal.

Construction workers at the West Midlands Metro site at Park Lane West in Tipton called the RSPCA after noticing a suspicious package floating in the water near Mission Drive on Monday December 20.

The men pulled the bag out and found three deceased puppies wrapped in white dishcloths, along with various plastic bags and a ‘Mamia’ nappy box, inside.

RSPCA inspector Claire Davey collected the puppies and took them to the charity’s Birmingham Animal Hospital, where they were identified by a vet as two males and one female, thought to be no more than 24 hours old.

The vet said it wasn’t possible to tell whether the pups, thought to be Staffordshire Bull terriers, were alive or deceased when they had been put into the bag, although all three appeared to be healthy. The possibility that they may have been stillborn has not been ruled out.

Inspector Claire said: “It’s absolutely heartbreaking to see very young animals dumped like this in such a cold and heartless way; these tiny, vulnerable pups still had their umbilical cords attached - so they were extremely young, probably no more than 24 hours old.

“It’s not clear whether they died during birth, of natural causes, or if something more sinister has happened, which is why I’m very keen to establish exactly how they came to be found in these appalling circumstances. We are also very concerned about the welfare of their mum and any other litter mates.”

“I’d also like to extend my thanks to the construction workers who very kindly called us and were understandably shocked and upset by what they found."

Anyone with information about the puppies should contact the RSPCA’s inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.