The RSPCA is appealing for information after two ferrets were dumped in a bush trapped inside a cat carrier.
The cream coloured ferrets were abandoned in a small wooded area near to the River Don in Hindmarch Drive, Boldon on Tuesday, September 26.
They were found by a member of the public at about 10am who then kindly took them into her home and called the RSPCA.
Animal Collection Officer Bryan Moffitt took the ferrets to the RSPCA Great Ayton Animal Centre in Middlesbrough where they have been receiving some much needed care and are now doing much better.
He said: "The ferrets, who have been named Skittles and Dolly by staff at Great Ayton, were left without food or water, so the first thing to do was to give them some food and water and a full vet check.
"On the whole, they were in an okay condition so I don’t think they had been there too long. Although near to a school it was quite an obscure place so they were very lucky that someone found them when they did.
“Sadly we have seen quite a lot of abandoned ferrets recently and I have no idea why there has been such a spate. It is never acceptable to abandon any animal like this and there are always options available to people who feel they can not cope, or when their circumstances have changed.
“Unfortunately there was no CCTV in the area so we are relying on information from members of the public and urge anyone who might be able to help our investigation to get in touch.”
Anyone with information on how these ferrets came to be abandoned should contact the RSPCA appeal line, in strict confidence, on 0300 123 8018.