2 puppies found in trash bags in Tacoma were 'just minutes from dying' but now recovering

TACOMA -- It was a shocking discovery: A pit bull gave birth to 11 puppies but the mother and her family were dumped in trash bags in a Tacoma alley and left to die.

The mom and nine of her pups did perish.

But two puppies survived.

“These guys were just minutes from dying, they were that cold,” Tacoma Animal Control officer Kate Madden said of the two survivors.

They were warm and safe Friday, but just a day before they felt like ice cubes, Madden said.

“We didn't think they were going to make it,” she said.

The dogs were found in the bags in a Tacoma alley at 40th and Pacific Thursday. The puppies and the mother were double bagged in trash bags.

Lon Benner said he was out on his daily walk when he spotted the bags.

He called animal control. When Madden rushed to the scene, she said, she heard the puppies before she saw them.

“I heard a very high pitch squeak. I froze. I looked at the officer and I said, did you hear that? So I just ripped the bag open and I looked at the pile of puppies,” Madden said.

All lifeless except for two.

“It's this disbelief of, is it really moving? Is it alive? It moved again and made more noise so we started rubbing it,” Madden said.

The two surviving pups shortly after they were found in Tacoma Thursday. (Photo: Tacoma Police Dept.)

The two pups are being nursed back to health as police try to track down the person who left the family to die.

“It's basically killing a dog and that's animal cruelty in the first degree,” Tacoma police officer Loretta Cool said.

Investigators don’t know when they were dumped in the alley but they know all the puppies were alive at one point.

“She was pregnant with 11 puppies. Somebody has seen this dog; we would like them to call in,” Cool said.

Benner said he wishes he would have found the bags sooner.

“It makes me feel good they got at least two because there was no hope when I first saw them,” Benner said.

Animal control said the puppies could all still all be alive if someone had done the right thing.

“Any vet clinic would have taken them, the Humane Society definitely, even bringing them to the Police Department,” Madden said.