Dog dumping is happening more than ever, and some say Oklahoma's state statute is to blame.
Four Great Dane puppies are still alive after they were abandoned on the side of a road north of Pryor on Monday.
Someone found the bucket of puppies near Rocklahoma — eight in total, said Kathy LaValley with Saving Whiskers and Tails.
Two of the puppies at the bottom were already dead. The rest all had Parvo, a severe dog virus. Two more died later on because they were too malnourished.
LaValley brought the four remaining puppies to the Locus Grove Animal Clinic, where veterinarian Dr. David Fleming is treating them.
"You can see it in their faces. It just breaks your heart," Fleming said. "They are so nauseous."
Saving Whiskers and Tails, a Mayes County animal rescue, is offering a reward for information about who dumped the dogs.
"If we can get a name and we can verify and get an arrest, then we are hoping that it'll be prosecuted in Mayes County," LaValley said.
This is just one example of a growing problem: people abandoning animals.
Fleming said he believes it's because state law does not require animal shelters for counties with populations less than 200,000 or cities with fewer than 10,000 households.
That means most Oklahoma counties and cities don't have a place for people to bring stray or unwanted animals, so people are more likely to dump them.
Fleming believes the statute should change.
"I've been here for 25 years, it's gotten worse, it hasn't gotten any better," he said. "It's time for us to step up do something about the problem — because it is a big problem."
Area animal rescues agree: they don't have the funds or resources to support the overpopulation of stray animals.
"It's been constant," LaValley said. "We're always full and there's always several waiting to get in when we can make room for them. There's just no end to it."
There will hopefully be a happy ending for the Great Dane puppies who survive the Parvo virus. They should be ready for adoption in a month. If you'd like to contribute to the puppies' medical fund, you can do so here.