The RSPCA is appealing for information after an emaciated puppy was dumped in the middle of a street in Liverpool, so poorly that onlookers thought he was dead.

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The male dog, around three months old, was found collapsed in Queens Drive by a passer-by on Thursday morning (15 September).

The dog, who has been named Francis, was so weak that he could not open his mouth or stand up. He was taken back to a house, where he refused all food and water offered to him.

RSPCA Animal Welfare Officer Matt Brown said: “Francis looked completely lifeless when he was found.

“When I went to collect him my first thought was that he was dead as he was in such a bad way. I took a photo of him for evidence and he looks lifeless in it. Thankfully, though, he was hanging on.

“I immediately took him to a vet where he was given fluids and kept warm. The state that he was in was absolutely terrible.

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“There is a chance that he might have parvo – a contagious virus which can be fatal – but he is being treated by experienced vets now.

“It is horrifying to think that someone somewhere thought it was OK to dump an innocent and defenceless animal in this way. We don’t know how long Francis was in this state for, but he was definitely found at the right time as if it had been any longer, there is a chance he would be dead.

“We are urging anyone who knows anything at all about Francis to do the right thing and contact us in complete confidence on 0300 123 8018.”

The RSPCA is a charity and we rely on public donations to exist. To assist our inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3. (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message.)