A puppy has died after being dumped on the side of a road in "horrendous" conditions during Storm Ciara.
The female Lurcher-type was taken to an animal charity on Sunday by two teenage boys who said they had found her. She had collapsed and was non-responsive.
She tested positive for parvovirus, a deadly and highly contagious virus that attacks cells in a dog’s intestines stopping the absorption of nutrients.
The puppy was put to sleep on veterinary advice.
The RSPCA is now appealing for information after she was found on Cornforth Lane, just outside the town of Ferryhill in County Durham at about 3pm.
Parts of the UK were hit by 93mph winds on Sunday, while 122.6mm of rain fell in places.
RSPCA Deputy Chief Inspector Emma Stainthorpe said: “The weather was absolutely horrendous on Sunday when this poor puppy was found, collapsed and dying, just down the road from Stray Aid.
“She tested positive for Parvo - a nasty and highly contagious virus that attacks the intestines and is often fatal if untreated, particularly in puppies.
“She had adult incisors but the rest of her teeth were puppy teeth so she was estimated to be 16 to 18 weeks old.
“As she wasn’t microchipped we have no way of tracing her owner at the moment so we are appealing for anyone with any information about who she belonged to, to contact us.
“Please call the RSPCA Inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018 and ask to leave a message for me.”
Sue Bielby, the veterinary director of Stray Aid where the puppy was handed in, said: “We at Stray Aid are absolutely heartbroken, she was so ill that she was comatose and I had no alternative but to put her to sleep.
“Parvo is a terrible virus and any dogs who have come into contact with this puppy are at risk. It is extremely important that dog owners keep their dog’s vaccinations up to date to protect them. I just hope there aren’t any other dogs affected.
“If anyone knows anything about where this puppy came from please contact the RSPCA.”