Who would leave three puppies to die in a drainage ditch?
The volunteers at Coastal Animal Rescue in Murrells Inlet are willing to give $1,000 to anyone who can help them figure that out.
Three four- to five week-old puppies were turned in to the rescue organization on Sunday after they were found in a stormwater pipe near South Bay Street in Georgetown.
Michael Hardwick, 10, was walking with a family friend when they heard squealing.
He said they looked in a pipe and saw a bag shoved back into the pipe.
"We opened it, and there were these three puppies," Michael said. "They were scratched and they were cut and they were muddy and filthy."
He said they took the puppies home to his grandmother's house, cleaned the puppies and gave them some milk.
"Then they took a long nap, they took like a two-hour nap right on the blanket," he said.
The family turned the puppies over to a volunteer at the rescue organization, and they are now being fostered at night by another volunteer until they are adopted.
Karen Nierengarten, a volunteer at the rescue, said the volunteers came together to raise the $1,000 reward for anyone who gives them information that leads to the arrest and conviction "of someone who threw dogs away like garbage."
She said in March the organization also offered a reward for information on the person who put five Labrador puppies in a plastic garbage bag in a Dumpster at Waccamaw Community Hospital. She said no one has come forward with information about that incident, but they are still hoping.
All five of those puppies were adopted soon after they were turned in, Nierengarten said, and she hopes these newest three will be adopted soon as well.
There were two male puppies, one yellow and one black, and one dark chocolate female.
Michael said his family is interested in adopting the yellow puppy, which reminds him of a dog his family once had.
Nierengarten said that while she is glad that Michael rescued the puppies, "What are we teaching the children? There is little penalty for this."
Anyone convicted of animal cruelty in Georgetown County can face a fine of up to $500 or 30 days in jail.
Nierengarten said that though the weather was warmer than it had been when the puppies were found on Saturday, "they're babies. I don't know that they would have made it overnight."
But she said the puppies are in good health now, though there is evidence that they had been mistreated for a while.
"They're being checked out and they could be eligible for adoption in the next few days," she said.
Contact GINA VASSELLI at 443-2434.