The RSPCA is desperately appealing for information across Fenland, Peterborough and Spalding after 18 fox cubs were found fighting for their lives inside two plastic barrels and one sack.
The incident has been described as one of the most appalling and distressing that RSPCA inspector Jon Knight has ever seen, and he is now appealing for information.
The RSPCA was called on Monday, 25 April by a member of the public who made the discovery in Swindlers Drove, Spalding at around 4pm.
Inspector Knight found two plastic barrels and a sack dumped in a ditch. When he looked inside the barrels he found five fox cubs in one and a further six in the other. Another seven fox cubs were found inside the sack.
The fox cubs were all squashed in together and extremely dehydrated. If they had not been discovered it is thought that they would all have died.
The barrels were screw topped, but had holes in the top of them. The sack was tied with string.
Three bags of shredded rubbish were also left at the scene and contained soiled shredded paper and bird and rabbit remains.
A fourth bag with maggot infested bird remains was also found.
It is thought that the fox cubs may have been kept in captivity prior to being abandoned because the shredded paper left next to them was soaked with fox urine.
The fox cubs were aged between five and eight weeks. They are currently being cared for at an RSPCA centre, where they are recovering well.
A further fox cub was later rescued from the scene. But sadly it had to be put to sleep to prevent it suffering further as it had a fractured skull and jaw.
Inspector Knight said: “This was one of the most distressing incidents I have ever been involved with. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the poor fox cubs crammed together inside the barrels and the sack.
“Had they not been discovered then it is clear they would have perished very quickly. They could hardly move, and obviously had no access to food and water.
“Whoever has done this should not be allowed to get away with it, which is why I am appealing to anyone in the Spalding, Fenland and greater Peterborough area, or even further afield to get in touch.
“We need to find the person responsible and we need the public to help us. Therefore anyone with any information, no matter how small is urged to call the RSPCA cruelty line on 0300-1234-999. Calls can be made anonymously and we hope someone out there will provide us with the key piece of information which will help us with this investigation.”
The foxes have been examined by vets and are recovering well. They will be monitored and rehabilitated by the RSPCA in preparation for their release back in to the wild when they are ready.