Newborn Puppies Found Abandoned at a Dumpster

The day-old babies were found in an area teeming with puppy mills.

A pile of puppies snuggling on a rug

Speak Rescue and Sanctuary

In a place people typically dump greasy pizza boxes, smelly trash, and broken TVs, someone left an old laundry basket, lined with a tattered fleece blanket. Inside were six mewling tiny puppies that had been abandoned just a few hours after being born.

Fortunately, someone discovered the puppies before it was too late. They took the cold, hungry babies to a nearby humane society in Branson, Missouri. Originally thinking they were rescuing kittens, employees there began bottle-feeding the babies while reaching out for help.

It’s hard to tell what breed the puppies are when they are this young. But they look like they might be Australian shepherds. And two of the puppies were predominantly white, which means they could be double merles. 

Merle is the mottled pattern in a dog’s coat. When two dogs with a merle gene are bred together, their puppies have a one in four chance of being blind and/or deaf and having a predominantly white coat.

The puppies were found in an area known for lots of puppy mills. A puppy mill is a dog-breeding facility with the primary goal of making money. To maximize profits, some breeders make dogs live in awful conditions.

Rescue workers guess that the puppies may have been discarded because of those double merles or because the breeder didn’t like the parent dog combination.

Why Puppies Are Dumped

"It takes a heartless person to dump puppies, especially puppies who are one day old. Because this happened in an area with a lot of puppy mills, and those operations put profit way ahead of care for the dogs, I think we can pretty well guess where they came from," John Goodwin, senior director of the HSUS Stop Puppy Mills campaign, tells Treehugger.

"We hear stories about puppies being abandoned by mills for a number of reasons, usually because the puppy is sick and needs vet care or because there is a quality that the mill owner thinks will diminish the puppies sales value. In one instance, a major puppy broker in this same general area was found to have a massive pit filled with dead puppies. That broker bought from mills all over Missouri and supplied pet stores around the country."

In 2021 for the ninth consecutive year, Missouri was at the top of the “Horrible Hundred,” the Humane Society of the United States' annual report on puppy mills.

There's a reason Missouri has more puppy mills than any other state.

"In the post-World War II era factory farms started to replace small, family farms," Goodwin says. "Some who no longer found it profitable to raise pigs or chickens decided to start up puppy mills. This was especially true in the Midwest where there were a lot of small farms going out of business."

The first thing people can do to end puppy mills is to stop buying puppies that came from mills, Goodwin says, pointing out that most puppies sold in pet stores, online, and at flea markets originate in those places.

Caring for Newborn Puppies

four newborn sleeping puppies

Speak Rescue and Sanctuary

Because the puppies may be Aussies and there were double merles, the Humane Society reached out to Speak Rescue and Sanctuary, which specializes caring for in herding dogs with special needs.

Unfortunately, two of the puppies didn’t make it to Speak. One died within a day or two and the other was not far behind.

The puppies are now being cared for by a foster parent who has years of experience bottle-feeding newborn puppies. She gives them warmed formula every 2-3 hours, then has to wipe their bottoms afterward to stimulate them to go to the bathroom. Normally, a mother dog would lick her puppies to encourage them to do that. But without a mom, these puppies rely totally on people.

The puppies are kept warm with a heating pad and are weighed often to see if they are thriving. Two puppies that were struggling were moved to a vet’s home for round-the-clock monitoring and tube feeding. Unfortunately, the littlest one didn't make it.

The first few weeks are the most dangerous for newborns. They can suffer from a condition known as fading puppy syndrome, where babies that are seemingly normal gradually stop thriving and die within the first two weeks after birth.

Rescuers are hopeful that the puppies nursed on their mother right after they were born. They were very clean, like their mom had cared for them. But they didn’t get the important first few days of high-protein mother’s milk that is known as colostrum. Colostrum helps support their immune systems and protects them from disease. 

Surviving Puppy Season

newborn puppy Lilac
Newborn puppy Lilac.

Speak Rescue and Sanctuary

Because they were found just days before the first day of spring, the puppies were given tree- and forest-themed names. The three girls are Laurel, Lilac, and Sylvie, and the lone boy was Banyan.

Although she was sad to hear about the abandoned puppies, she certainly wasn't surprised, says Judy Duhr, director of Speak Rescue and Sanctuary.

"This time of year is what rescuers refer to as puppy season and with most of the shelters overflowing and many in Missouri having to euthanize for space, we fear there is going to be a lot more dumping than in years past," Duhr tells Treehugger.

"We can only hope more people step up to adopt, foster, and educate on the importance of spaying and neutering, as well as sharing the many resource options available to help those in need."

You can follow Mary Jo and her foster puppy adventures on Instagram @brodiebestboy.

View Article Sources
  1. "What Is a Double Merle?" Double Merles: Learn the Facts.

  2. "Stopping Puppy Mills." The Humane Society of the United States.

  3. "The Horrible Hundred 2021: A sampling of problem puppy mills and puppy sellers in the United States." The Humane Society of the United States.

  4. Williams, Krista and Ward, Ernest. "Fading Puppy Syndrome in Dogs." VCA Animal Hospitals.

  5. Williams, Krista and Downing, Robin, "Feeding Orphaned Puppies." VCA Animal Hospitals.