PITTSGROVE — A disturbing case out of Salem County has attracted the attention of the largest animal rights organization in the world.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has announced that it's offering a reward of up to $5,000 for solid information related to the abandonment of three puppies in freezing cold conditions in Pittsgrove.

The puppies were found trapped in a basket in the woods on Nov. 29, by a Buena resident who was in the area.

By the time the woman discovered the puppies, which are estimated to be about 10 weeks old, one was already dead. The other two were emaciated, dehydrated, and cold — temperatures dipped to as low as 20 degrees that day.

According to PETA, officials have not identified any leads related to who left the puppies to die.

"If there are more animals in this person's custody, they could be in grave danger, and PETA urges anyone with information to come forward," said PETA Senior Vice President Colleen O'Brien.

The discovery was made in the woods at Gershal Ave. and Eppinger Ave., according to the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter, which is caring for the animals until they are ready for new homes.

Anyone with information can contact the New Jersey State Police Bridgeton Barracks at 856-451-0100.

PETA's reward is for information "leading to the arrest and conviction on cruelty charges of the person(s) responsible."

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