KEY LARGO -- Four German shepherd puppies need a new home after they were left in a metal trash bin behind the Pink Plaza last week.
The 4-month-old puppies were held at the Upper Keys Veterinary Hospital over the weekend and are considered to be in good condition, according to hospital manager Callie Cottrell.
"They were treated for heartworms, but they're OK," she said.
The puppies could be seen running around and playing with each other at the hospital last week.
Cottrell described the act as something unusual for the Florida Keys.
"This type of thing happens in Homestead or Miami, not in the Keys," Cottrell said.
The dogs were first noticed by a tenant at the plaza who was throwing away her trash and heard whimpering.
Lissa Sclichter, a self-proclaimed animal lover, said she had trouble trying to find a place to take the abandoned puppies.
"Everyone is packed with dogs and cats," she said, after being turned away by the Upper Keys Humane Society. Sclichter said the problem stems from a large amount of animals not being spayed or neutered.
Even with the high population at the rescue facilities, Cottrell said leaving them at the shelter would be much better than the alternative.
Sclichter took the dogs to Marrvelous Pet Rescue, where the three females were named Karma, Hope and Kismet. The male was named Chance.
"We don't know how long they were in the hot metal container, slowly cooking, but we are thankful someone heard their whimpering before the trash truck came along," said Kat Spiegel, the rescue's pet coordinator.
Spiegel wants people to know such behavior is unacceptable.
"I have never seen anything like this," Spiegel said. "There are three shelters, a rescue and a Humane Society. They had options."
To find the person responsible could be an uphill battle as there were no witnesses or security cameras behind the plaza at mile marker 103, Spiegel said.
On Monday, one of the female puppies was adopted by a local fishing guide, Cottrell said.
The others were placed in foster homes.
Anyone interested in adopting the animals may call Marrvelous Pet Rescue at 453-1315.