Helpless puppies given as Christmas gifts are already being abandoned to die on the streets, according to a leading animal sanctuary.
The Rainbow Rehoming Centre in Londonderry said that it was now dealing with the "Christmas chuck-outs", with seven pups rescued in the past week alone.
Among those abandoned were two nine-week-old black Labrador cross sisters named Ellie and Ebony.
The pups were tied to a telegraph pole with red leads near the sanctuary.
A security guard from the Estate Services company, which carries out spotchecks on the Eglinton Centre at night free of charge, arrived last Friday carrying one of the pups.
He told staff that as he drove into the premises at 10pm on Thursday evening he noticed the young dog tied to the pole.
Joanne Mullan from the Rainbow Centre said: "If it were not for this security guard doing a spotcheck at this time on Thursday night, this pup would have spent the night tied to this post, exposed to the elements, terrified and freezing. We have named this pup Ebony.
"We were further shocked when on Friday evening dog walkers discovered another pup hiding in a shed opposite the telegraph pole.
"This pup is very similar to the first pup discovered so they are obviously from the same litter and have both been abandoned at the one time. This second pup, who we have named Ellie, must have broken free from the lead and had spent almost 24 hours hiding in this shed.
"To abandon any animal is despicable but to abandon young pups is disgusting," she said.