AN investigation is underway by the RSPCA after the ‘distressing discovery’ of 10 dead puppies in a woodland.

The animal charity said it was reported to them the dogs had been found on the remnants of a fire in Clayton-le-Moors.

They had been found by a resident who had been walking in the woodland area off Bates Street on Tuesday.

The RSPCA were then contacted and officers were sent to the woods to clear up the site.

Staff at the charity said they are not sure what happened to the puppies and are investigating the incident to find out more.

An RSPCA spokesman said: “The RSPCA is aware of the distressing discovery of a number of dead puppies who were found in woodland in Clayton-le-Moors.

“We are currently investigating and anyone with information is asked to contact the RSPCA.”

Cllr Tim O’Kane, who represents the area on Hyndburn Council, said he hopes the shocking incident is just a one-off.

He said: “I think it is a tragic story.

“Most people in Clayton-le-Moors absolutely love dogs.

“It’s heartbreaking to hear about, especially at this time of year.

“I think it has just been a one-off thing.

“It’s just one of those things, it is a tragic happening.”

It is not known at what point the puppies died or how they died.

Cllr Miles Parkinson, leader of Hyndburn Council, said it is ‘disturbing’ to hear about these sort of incidents.

He also encouraged anyone with any unwanted animals to get in touch with the RSCPA.

Cllr Parkinson, who also represents Clayton-le-Moors as a county councillor, said: “It is very disturbing to hear about this sort of incident.

“You hear harrowing stories about people running puppy farms and selling on dogs who are distressed, it is not nice to see.

“It’s important to remember especially at this time of year the saying how a dog is for life, not just for Christmas.

“It’s very distressing for people to come across scenes like this.

“The RSPCA do a wonderful job of caring for animals and helping to rehome them.

“If anyone is struggling and needs any help with animals they should get in contact with them.”

The charity urged anyone with any information to contact them on its 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.