A whippet and her nine pups were found dumped in a bed of nettles last Saturday by a couple out walking their dogs.
Kandy Hardy came across the abandoned animals as she was walking her two dogs near Broughton Castle and heard a rustling at the side of the road.
“I couldn't believe it,” she said. "I don't know how people can dump animals like that. Why not just take them to your vets or a charity? The mother was in a bad state, she was skin and bone and bleeding. I don't think they would have lasted much longer."
The mother and babies were taken to a veterinary practice in Banbury, where Ms Hardy’s own dogs are registered. She claims she was told they could not take them in so she called her friend Jennifer Race who takes in and re-homes abandoned dogs. Mrs Race called the RSPCA who refused to go out and told her to take the animals to a police station. Mrs Hardy took the dogs to Banbury station, but was turned away and told to call the RSPCA.
The pair tried Mrs Race's vets in desperation and within 15 minutes vet Richard Gomersall was at the practice and took the dogs in where they stayed over the weekend before being taken to a rescue home. Mrs Hardy of Middleton Road, Banbury, said: "I couldn't believe it when the RSPCA wouldn't come out because they said the animals weren't sick or injured."
Mr Gomersall said vets have a legal obligation under the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons regulations to take in animals in circumstances like this. "You have to have an emergency out-of-hours service to alleviate pain or suffering in an animal. We encourage people to contact the police or one of the animal charities, but if they won't help we will accept them."
RSPCA spokesman Sophie Wilkinson said the charity had no obligation to look after stray animals that were not sick, injured or in imminent danger.
During office hours it was the local council's duty to collect strays and out of hours it was a police responsibility.
Police spokesman Tim Prince said: "Without speaking to the person who was on the front desk it's hard to know why we didn't take them, but it could have been because they were too late, the kennels were full or because of how many dogs there were," he said.
Call the Northants Greyhound Rescue Centre on 01327 830250 if you wish to provide a home for any of the puppies.