11/18/2014 04:18 EST | Updated 01/18/2015 05:59 EST

Starving puppies rescued in freezing temperatures near Ladysmith

Two starving puppies have been rescued by the B.C. SPCA after they were found tethered outdoors in freezing temperatures at a home near Ladysmith, on Vancouver Island.

"It was heartbreaking to see how these little puppies were being forced to live,"  SPCA senior animal protection officer Tina Heary said in a statement.

"They were outside in the freezing cold, tangled up on tethers, emaciated, filthy, matted and covered in urine. Their only shelter was a plastic doghouse that was wet and muddy inside with no insulation or bedding."

The terrier-cross males — named Casey and Finnegan by SPCA staff — are only a few months old, and had been left tied up in the frigid temperatures without access to food or water.

"One of the puppies was so compromised he could only take a couple of steps before falling over. Both were extremely weak, weighing only two to three kilograms each," said Heary.

The SPCA responded to an alert about the puppies, now being cared for round-the-clock by the organization's Nanaimo branch. They are expected to make a full recovery.

The SPCA is investigating the case and is recommending charges of animal cruelty be laid.