The RSPCA is appealing for information after a young emaciated puppy, thought to be aged around six weeks old, was abandoned in a cat carrier in a supermarket car park.

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The female dog, thought to be a springer spaniel or pointer crossbreed, was found by a passer-by quivering in the carrier in the car park of Tesco, in Derby Street, Leigh, on Wednesday, 10 August.

As well as being underweight, the puppy – who has been named Lilian – was dehydrated.

Her abandonment comes just weeks after the RSPCA released figures which showed that animals are more likely to be abandoned during the summer months, with one animal being dumped every hour in June, July and August.

RSPCA inspector Helen Smith, who is investigating, said: “Poor Lilian was absolutely terrified when she was found and, although she is learning to trust people now, she is still a little scared of everything.

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“She was not in a good way when she was found but thankfully she is on the road to recovery. It must have been very scary and distressing for her to have been dumped in the callous way that she was.

“We don’t know for certain how long she was there for before she was found, but she would have been very vulnerable out there on her own. We are urging anyone who has any information about how Lilian came to be how she was to please contact us in complete confidence on 0300 123 8018. It is very important that we find out more information.

“The carrier which Lilian was dumped in is very distinctive as it had a number of stickers of flies on the top of it. Somebody must recognise this carrier as it is unusual.”

Lilian is now being cared for in a foster home. It is hoped that she will be available for rehoming soon.

Inspector Smith added that it is important for people to get their animals neutered to avoid unwanted litters. She said: “Every year the RSPCA sees an increase in the number of young animals that come into our care at this time of year after unplanned pregnancies result in unwanted litters – which is why we always advise people to get their pets neutered.

“We also think it is very important for people to research thoroughly when they take on a new pet – whatever that animal may be they do need to research it, make sure it will suit their lifestyle and that they will be able to provide for it for the entirety of its life – however long that may be.”

The RSPCA is a charity and we rely on public donations to exist. To assist our inspectors in rescuing abandoned animals and our hospitals in treating them please visit www.rspca.org.uk/abandonment and tweet your support: #NeverAlone. You can also donate by texting HELP to 78866 to give £3. (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message.)