RATS were found dumped in a hedgerow inside filthy cages and it is believed two of the seven animals have already died.
There were two cages which were rusty and dirty, and the water inside the water bottles had turned bright green.
The rats were spotted by a dog walker along Hollis Lane in Kenilworth on Sunday August 16.
The lid was off one of the cages and two of the rats were running loose in the bushes nearby, as well as five more rats inside the second cage.
Despite trying to catch the two loose rats the dog walker could not get close enough so took the remaining five home and called the RSPCA.
Insp Steven Morrall is now investigating.
He said: “These rats were abandoned on a quiet country lane in the undergrowth of some bushes and would not have been seen by passing vehicles. The five surviving rats are very lucky that they were found when they were or they too could have died. It would seem like they have been there for at least a few days, exposed to the elements and without fresh water or food.
“After collecting the rats in the cage, I went back to the location to try and find the other two but sadly only discovered one deceased rat which appeared to have succumbed to the stormy weather. The remaining five rats are now at RSPCA Newbrook Animal Centre in Birmingham where they are responding well to some TLC.”
The rats are grey and white and there are four males and one female.
Steve added: “The cages were really rusty which is unlikely to have happened during the few days that they were abandoned, so it would seem like perhaps these rats were being kept outside, in a shed or outbuilding where the cages had become damp. There also appears to be marks from a blue marker pen on one of the bottom of the cages, possibly to identify them if there are large quantities of rats in one place.
“We are keen to find out where the rats have come from and how they came to be abandoned in these dirty cages. If you saw anything, or have any information which may help us, please contact us in strictest confidence.”
Call the appeal line on 0300 123 8018 with any information.