The Southern Oregon Humane Society discovered seven puppies apparently suffocated in plastic bags, sealed in a plastic storage container and dumped near the society's trash bins over the weekend.

The Southern Oregon Humane Society discovered seven puppies apparently suffocated in plastic bags, sealed in a plastic storage container and dumped near the society's trash bins over the weekend.

The puppies, likely Labrador or German shepherd crosses about 8 weeks old, were found Sunday morning, said Bill Templeman, executive director of the humane society. The container, similar to those the society uses for storage, probably was left there late Saturday or early Sunday.

"It's horrible," he said. "It makes no sense. Someone was just trying to get rid of these puppies."

"There are so many ways to deal with pet overpopulation and this is not it," he added, advocating for the spaying and neutering of pets.

Humane society workers wondering what the storage container was doing in front of the building at 2910 Table Rock Road, Medford, opened it and made the grisly discovery. Templeman said the puppies appeared to have suffocated in the plastic bags they were each wrapped in.

The incident was reported to Jackson County Animal Care and Control. County animal control officials and the humane society are working together to investigate.

County animal shelter director Colleen Macuk said the investigation is following some specific leads, but no details are available yet.

Templeman said people who need help disposing of a deceased animal sometimes work with the humane society, which will hold the body until animal control can collect it and dispose of it appropriately. Such arrangements are made by calling first to coordinate, he said.

He couldn't recall any other cases of apparently deliberately killed animals dumped on their premises.

Templeman said uncovering the cruel deaths of the puppies was especially disheartening as the society was finding new homes this weekend for a busload of small dogs — mostly Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes — rescued from Fresno, Calif.-area shelters. Thirty-one of those 63 dogs went home with new families over the weekend and more are on hold for prospective owners.