EIGHTEEN fox cubs have been found fighting for their lives inside two plastic barrels and one sack.
Another cub was later rescued from the scene but had to be put to sleep to prevent it suffering further as it had a fractured skull and jaw.
The incident in Spalding has been described as one of the most appalling and distressing that RSPCA inspector Jon Knight has ever seen, and he is now appealing for information.
The RSPCA has just gone public with details of the discovery, which was made by a member of the public in Swindlers Drove, Spalding at around 4pm on Easter Monday, April 25.
The plastic barrels and a sack were dumped in a ditch.
Five fox cubs were in one barrel and a further six were in the other. Another seven fox cubs were found inside the sack.
The fox cubs were all squashed in together and extremely dehydrated, if they had not been discovered it is thought that they would all have died.
The barrels were screw topped, but had holes in the top of them. The sack was tied with string.
Three bags of shredded rubbish were also left at the scene and contained soiled shredded paper and bird and rabbit remains. A fourth bag with maggot-infested bird remains was also found.
It is thought that the fox cubs may have been kept in captivity prior to being abandoned because the shredded paper left next to them was soaked with fox urine.
The fox cubs were aged between five and eight weeks. They are currently being cared for at an RSPCA centre, where they are recovering well.
Insp Knight said: “This was one of the most distressing incidents I have ever been involved with. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the poor fox cubs crammed together inside the barrels and the sack.
“Had they not been discovered then it is clear they would have perished very quickly. They could hardly move, and obviously had no access to food and water.
“Whoever has done this should not be allowed to get away with it, which is why I am appealing to anyone in the Spalding, Fenland and greater Peterborough area, or even further afield to get in touch.”
Anyone with information should call the RSPCA cruelty line on 0300 1234999. Calls can be made anonymously.
The foxes are recovering well and will be released back into the wild when they are ready.