In a horrific tragedy, about 4,000 dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals, believed to have been bought online as pets, were found dead in boxes in China. The animals had all been held in plastic or metal cages wrapped in cardboard boxes at a shipping facility where they were stranded for nearly a week.Also Read - A Family in Karachi Keeps Two Giraffes As Pets In Their House, Twitter Calls it 'Animal Cruelty' | Watch

They had been left in the boxes without food or water for about a week before they were discovered at the Dongxing Logistics station in Henan’s Luohe city.

As per a CBS News report, these deaths are likely due to miscommunication in the supply chain of China’s thriving mass-breeding industry.

Though 4000 animals were already dead, rescuers managed to save over 1,000 rabbits, hamsters, dogs and cats. Many got adopted while the ill animals were sent to veterinary clinics.

”We’ve done rescues before but this was the first time I had experienced something this tragic. When we got there, there were several small mountains of boxes containing animals. Many of them were dead and had started to rot and give off terrible smells”, said a volunteer with the NGO Utopia Animal Rescue.

“It was obvious they died of suffocation, dehydration and starvation,” Sister Hua, the founder of animal rescue group Utopia told CBS.

“Given the COVID-19 pandemic we are facing, it’s so terrifying to have those live animals transported that way, and even ending up dead,” she added

Authorities are investigating the incident, which has again raised concerns over the lack of regulation of online pet sales in China.

(With PTI inputs)