Four newborn puppies were found dead in a carrier bag on the side of the road by a member of the public.
The disgusting discovery was all the more heartbreaking as they were found in the morning on Thursday - which was being celebrated as National Puppy Day.
Dacorum Borough Council’s dog warden collected the four bodies and alerted the RSPCA.
RSPCA inspector Rachel Smith said: “A woman called the dog warden as she was concerned there were dead animals in a tied up Marks & Spencer carrier bag which had been dumped on a verge.
“Unfortunately, when the dog warden attended, she made the grisly discovery.
“Inside the bag were four tiny, newborn puppies - possibly Staffordshire bull terriers. There were no obvious signs of injury.
“It’s not clear how or why these puppies have died but I do have concerns that they could come from an unplanned litter and there may be a bitch somewhere out there who is at risk.
“What makes this even more heartbreaking is that the pups were found on National Puppy Day - a day when most people are celebrating puppies and how wonderful it can be to have a dog.
“Sadly, the reality is that unscrupulous breeders and sellers looking to make money out of the puppy trade means awful things are happening to puppies on a regular basis and the RSPCA is having to pick up the pieces.”
A Dacorum Borough Council spokesman said: “Sadly, we found a litter of puppies in a carrier bag near the Nickey Line footpath in Hemel Hempstead. “We are concerned for the welfare of the mother who could be at risk.
“We, along with the RSPCA are investigating this incident.”
Anyone with any information which could help the investigation is urged to contact Dacorum Borough Council by calling 01442 228418 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or the RSPCA appeal line on 0300 123 8018.
Inspector Smith added: “It’s so important to have dogs neutered to avoid unwanted litters and the RSPCA advises all dog owners have their pets neutered.
“The RSPCA and other animal charities and rescue centres are full to bursting with unwanted dogs and cannot find new homes quickly enough for them all.”
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit www.rspca.org.uk/give or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).