EMACIATED, shivering from the cold and desperately in labour, a heavily-pregnant dog has been dumped in the Warwick Pound's drop-off box to fend for herself.
As she gave birth to eight puppies in the cold, dark box, Baby the bull arab cross had no idea she would soon be the subject of an RSPCA investigation.
Weighing in at just 15kg, less than half of what she should have, there's no telling just what else the poor mother had to endure before she was found late last week.
Baby and her pups are just another addition to the growing toll of animal cruelty cases on Southern Downs reported to the RSPCA.
Just two weeks ago three kittens were found burnt and wrapped in cling wrap in a bin on Lyon St.
RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty said the number of cruelty complaints had risen state wide.
"Two years ago the number was 12,000 - now it's up over 15, 000," he said.
"Part of it is community awareness but there seems to be people who won't have their pets desexed."
Now in the loving hands of the Southern Downs ARK team, Baby is slowly gaining weight and her pups are thriving after their terrible start to life.
"She is safe and very well," she said.
"The puppies are fat and thriving."
It's still a long road ahead for the dog and her puppies, as well as for RSPCA investigators who are following leads on the case.
"There's a very, very good chance people committing these offences will spend sometime in jail now," Mr Beatty said.
"You've got to worry about people who show a lack of empathy for a living creature.
"Why would you go and down what this person has done?"
To report a case of animal cruelty, phone the RSPCA on 1300ANIMAL (1300 264 625).
Complaints to the RSPCA