A trash bag containing what appears to be two litters of puppies - 15 in all - was dumped on the Old Bangs Highway sometime early Friday.

And though all of the puppies were alive when someone found the bag and brought the dogs to the Corinne T. Smith Animal Center, one of the pups had to be put down, and several others aren’t expected to live, Cheryl Campbell, executive director at the center, said.

“This is so uncalled for, so upsetting,” Campbell said. “The puppies could have been brought here, to the center. How much more difficult would that have been than to put them in a trash bag and leave them to die by the side of the road?

“The puppies could have been brought to the animal center where at least they will have a chance to be adopted out, or the ones that are sick will be euthanized humanely - not by suffocating in a trash bag. There is no charge for leaving animals here, and if they want to remain anonymous, we have pens where animals can be left after hours.”

The Corinne T. Smith Animal Center, 3016 Milam Dr., is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The puppies rescued on Friday, had their eyes open, and teeth so they can be fed a wet food for puppies, Campbell said.

“They’re adoptable. It looks like one litter is probably a blue heeler mix, the others - who knows.”

Campbell said the 15 puppies are - “of course” - a symbol of a larger problem, the end result of what happens when pets are not spayed or neutered.

“We work so hard and it is so important for people to understand that litters of unwanted puppies and kittens can be prevented. Prevention is the way to take care of unwanted animals, not dumping them after they’re here,” Campbell said.

The Animal Center still has vouchers available to help cover the cost of having a pet spayed or neutered.

“People can come by and purchase a low cost voucher to get their dog or cat spayed or neutered,” Campbell said. “If people will take responsibility, we can get control of the pet overpopulation in Brown County. We only ask for a donation to help with the spay or neuter. This program is set up to help those who cannot afford the surgery so we ask people to please use it only if they need to. Still, we had much rather give out the vouchers than see unwanted puppies dumped like these.”

Pet owners who receive the voucher may be responsible for their pet’s rabies vaccination at the vet if one is needed, Campbell explained.