A litter of puppies is recovering at a shelter after being found in frightening condition.
A Good Samaritan discovered the eight puppies abandoned in a box on the side of a road in Tampa, Florida, on Jan. 31, WFLA reported. The rescuer brought the animals to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, where they are now being cared for by staff.
The puppies were severely malnourished, dirty, and suffered from mange. Their skin was reportedly so damaged by the disease that shelter staff couldn't tell what breed they were.
"Not only do they look bad, but this is painful, with all the swelling in the joints," said Pam Backer, a staff member at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. "Their skin cracks and bleeds."
"Their little feet are swollen. That's from infection," she added.
The litter of eight -- six female and two male -- puppies will require at least four to six weeks of expensive medical treatments, including antibiotics and medicated baths, to make a full recovery.
They are also being fed high-quality food to help them recover from their malnourished condition.
"We have every reason to believe that they are going to make it," said Backer. "We are looking forward to seeing them with all of their hair growing back and enjoying life, their tails wagging and running around and playing."
Once the puppies have recovered, they will be put up for adoption.
The Humane Society called the animals' plight "heartbreaking" and recommends that pet owners spay and neuter their pets to keep them from producing unwanted offspring. The animal rescue organization also advises people to leave pets that they can no longer care for at shelters instead of abandoning or dumping them.
According to the shelter, no police investigation has been opened in the case.
Data reported by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shows that approximately 3.9 million dogs enter shelter care in the U.S. every year.