Inspectors from an animal rescue charity want to trace a callous dog owner who dumped a pregnant female dog on a doorstep in Abbotsley.

Officers from the Fenland Animal Rescue admit to being shocked to find the mother, with one dead puppy, and in need of an emergency caesarean to deliver the rest of her brood, in a box in freezing conditions.

Police were called at just after 5.30pm on November 2 and the call was passed to the animal rescue charity. Inspectors say, given the bitter weather, the call was escalated to a grade one incident and animal collection officers were on the scene within 35 minutes.

"Our rescue team collect many stray and abandoned animals each year, but this is a case that has shocked us all," said a spokesman for the charity.

"On arrival, we found one female dog, approximately 12-18 months old, in labour. The dog, now named Bella, had already given birth to one puppy within the last hour, who sadly did not survive. Our team immediately transported Bella to the Cromwell's Veterinary Hospital, in Huntingdon, where she underwent an emergency caesarean to recover the remaining puppies."

Bella and her remaining two puppies are said to be recovering well and will remain in the care of the Fenland Animal Rescue service.

"With the animals now safe, we are turning our attention to tracing the owner(s) of these dogs," said the spokesman.

"We are working closely with both the RSPCA and local authorities to trace any information that may lead us to finding them. This helpless animal was abandoned on a doorstep in the bitter cold, in the dark, whilst in a great deal of pain and discomfort; and had she of not been found, she most certainly would not have survived."

INFO: If you have any information regarding this incident or saw anything, which now seems suspicious, in the area of St Neots Road, Abbotsley on the evening of November 2, contact the team via email on info@fenlandanimalrescue.org.uk or call the RSPCA on 03001234999.