A PAIR of rabbits were tied up in a sack and left for dead on a railway line.
The two female pets, one of which was pregnant, were found emaciated and covered in infected wounds by the side of the tracks in South Hetton.
A member of the public discovered the rabbits and took them to a veterinary practice in the village.
Both animals are described as white with black patches, one with blue eyes and the other with brown eyes, and both are thought to be about two years old.
The incident has shocked the RSPCA, which said it was disgusting that the two animals had been left it the state they had been on the tracks.
RSPCA inspector Michelle Penny said: “These rabbits were in a shocking state when they were found – quite literally left for dead.
“They were in a terrible physical condition and extremely dehydrated.
“Where their fur should be white it’s actually stained yellow from urine. This implies that they have been living in awful conditions for some time.
“The wounds seem to suggest they’ve been living in cramped conditions with lots of other rabbits, something that often results in fighting.
“Given that they’re both female and one of them is pregnant, they must have been living with at least one male rabbit.”
Unfortunately the man who found them did not leave his contact details at the vets and the RSPCA is now appealing for him to come forward.
It is also appealing for anyone who thinks they may know anything else about the incident, or how the rabbits got on the railway track, to come forward.
Inspector Penny said they are not only concerned with how the rabbits got to the railway line, but also how they had been cared for in the weeks and months leading up to the incident.
She said: “These rabbits were suffering terribly and we believe they had been for many weeks beforehand.
“If they hadn’t been found when they were they almost certainly would have died an awful death – and there could be many more like them.”
The rabbits are now in the care of RSPCA Great Ayton where they’re being given the care they need.
Anyone who can help in any way with the rabbits is asked to contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 and ask to leave a message for Inspector Penny.
The two rabbits were discovered by the railway line on Tuesday, February 8.