DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A Lowcountry animal shelter is pleading with the community not to leave unwanted or rescued animals outside the shelter unattended.

Dorchester Paws released a video on Wednesday afternoon which shows a man dumping a nursing mother and her babies in the driveway.

“Instead of knocking on our door, he abandoned eight starving puppies, approximately four weeks old, and their neglected mother (covered by a sheet) in the middle of our driveway, just far enough away for his license plate to not be seen,” the shelter said.

Leaders there said the mother dog, who was not leashed to the crate of puppies, circled her litter for 10 minutes before a staff member realized she was there.

“While staff rushed to the families rescue, the momma took off into the woods teetering on-coming traffic and a life where the outcome would have been one worse than the next,” shelter leaders said.

The shelter said the mom and puppies are doing well. “We kept them together last night but we will need to separate the mother and babies as the mother has severe mastitis. The puppies will go out in groups of two or four, to foster, to ensure they socialize at an early age and have each other to comfort,” said Danielle Zuck, marketing and development director at Dorchester Paws.

The puppies, which are believed to be 4 weeks old, are currently being bottle-fed.

“The puppies are being treated for worms and the mother is being treated for skin issues and mastitis,” said Zuck. They are in need of a foster home for the mother so that she can decompress and heal before going up for adoption.

“Dorchester Paws took in 35 animals today, on a day where our shelter was closed to the public. While our staff was participating in professional development training to improve how we could better care for animals, 35 animals needed life-saving medical attention in order to make it through the day.”

Dorchester Paws says this situation happens a “handful of times” each year.

If you do not have room for your pet, the shelter takes in owner surrenders. They also offer pet support services for those who are struggling. To learn more about rehoming or surrendering your pet, please click here.