A Masterton man was surprised to discover three starving puppies dumped in the bushes near the river at Hood Aerodrome while walking his dog on Saturday afternoon.
Devan Simmonds believed the female puppies had been abandoned because they behaved as if they had had contact with humans before.
He said one puppy came out of the bush and approached his dog, Frog, then the other two came out and walked up to him.
"Initially, the puppies were pretty timid but they warmed up quickly as soon as they got some attention. They were excited to see someone."
Mr Simmonds put the puppies, which "smelt like buggery", into his car and took them home to bath and feed them.
"I got out the dog tucker and they certainly recognised what it was when the bag rattled."
Mr Simmonds said he couldn't see any logic in dumping the puppies when the owners could have taken them to the SPCA.
"The owners should be put down. But at least the puppies won't starve or freeze to death."
He said he was glad he hadn't found them at a later date because they may have been in a far worse condition.
His sister, Helen Simmonds-Smith, took the puppies to the SPCA on Monday morning.
She said the puppies were "such affectionate little girls" and must have survived on barely anything. "They're so skinny, whoever did this should be prosecuted," she said.
On Monday, the Times-Age called the Wairarapa SPCA to follow up on the welfare of the puppies.
SPCA centre manager Ben Lakomy said because the puppies were technically stray dogs they had been transferred to the pound.
It was unfortunate the underweight puppies had been dumped but they should bounce back really quickly, he said.
"Owners should take responsibility for their animals and, if they can't look after them, they should get help."
Masterton District Council spokesman Sam Rossiter-Stead said the dogs were being cared for in the puppy room at the pound.
"We will attempt to reunite them with their owner. If this is not possible, or if the owner does not want them, we will look to rehome them if they are suitable.
"All stray dogs come to us, unless they are injured, in which case they tend to be looked after by the SPCA."
Two other unwanted puppies, probably bull mastiff staffies, were turned into the Masterton VetCare Veterinary Hospital on Sunday.
Veterinarian Heidi Ward-McGrath said their owner, who had tried to sell them at a car boot sale, said there were originally eight puppies in the litter and they had given three away.
She said there was a possibility the puppies found near the aerodrome were from the same litter and may be the three that had been given away.
Dr Ward-McGrath said the two puppies were in poor body condition but were being fed nutritious food and had been de-fleaed, de-wormed and vaccinated.
"They're absolutely gorgeous," she said. "Hopefully, they will be ready for adoption in a week."