PITTSGROVE TWP., New Jersey (WPVI) -- The South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter and New Jersey State Police are trying to find whoever is responsible for abandoning three puppies in the freezing cold in Pittsgrove Township, causing one of them to die.
Suzanne Stretch said she was by Gershal Road and Eppinger Avenue on Wednesday when she heard the animals crying. She found the pups shivering and starving and a third puppy dead.
"They were famished. It was horrible. Absolutely horrible to see an animal in that shape," said Stretch of Buena.
The shelter posted photos of the surviving puppies on Facebook, saying they were found trapped in a basket, emaciated and dehydrated.
"They're very skinny. They were dehydrated and they were absolutely terrified," said Lauren Campbell, the operations manager for the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter.
The shelter has named the puppies Cosmo and Wanda. They estimate the puppies to be around 10 weeks old. Staff isn't sure how long they were in the woods for but they say the cold weather is hard enough for adult dogs to be in, let alone puppies.
"They probably never really knew any kind of love, but as you can see, they just want to love us in return," said Campbell.
The shelter hopes to use what happened as a teaching moment.
"I think people get really scared they don't know where to come. We are here to help you, but ultimately animal cruelty is never okay," said Campbell.
If you have any information that could help lead to those responsible please contact the NJ State Police Bridgeton Barracks at 856-451-0100.