The SPCA is encouraging people who cannot care for their animals to seek help after a litter of puppies was found dumped inside a Maketu rubbish bin.
The four puppies were found inside a bin at the Kaituna Cut by a fisherman last week.
Tauranga SPCA inspector Jason Blair said a fisherman coming back in from an early morning outing on Tuesday had gone past the bin and heard a noise. When he investigated, he found the four chocolate brown pups in the bag inside the bin and brought them to the SPCA.
Mr Blair said the puppies were about two months old and believed to be Staffordshire-cross.
They were now being cared for by an SPCA foster family until new homes could be found for them.
Mr Blair said the puppies were in good health and were "quite vocal" when found.
"It's obviously very distressing for them. In some ways these are the lucky ones, they were found. There's bound to be others not so fortunate."
There were specific charges for abandoning animals with no food or water but Mr Blair said there was little information around who dumped the puppies.
Mr Blair said Tauranga SPCA received reports of dumped animals every two to four weeks.
"It's fairly common and at this time of year it's coming into kitten season. We will see more of kittens being dumped rather than puppies."
The SPCA offers free or discounted de-sexing of animals and encourages animal owners who cannot care for their pet's offspring to de-sex them.
"We know times are tough but the responsibilities are on the owners. We are not always able to take every other animal but if people are thinking about dumping animals, they can call us and we can try to work out something."
Foster parent Jackie Baxendine said said the puppies were quite timid when she took them several days ago.
However, they were now coming out of their shells and running around Ms Baxendine's 20-acre Oropi property. "These ones are already out in the paddock exploring. I just let them run around. They follow me, then run back to the kennel.
"It's just a shame, what people do [dumping animals]."
Ms Baxendine said the puppies, which were "just so cute" were already the centre of attention with her family and friends but she hoped more permanent homes would be found for them soon.