VANCOUVER -- The BC SPCA is asking the public for help taking care of 17 puppies and two adult dogs that were surrendered to it in the province's Interior.

RCMP and animal control officers were called to a property on Dec. 23 to respond to a complaint. The location of the property has not been made public.

“They came across 17 puppies who were living outside in the cold in the snow without adequate food and water,” said Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer for the BC SPCA. “They definitely were full of worms, one or two were quite lethargic."

The following day, on Christmas Eve, all 19 Siberian Huskies were taken into the care of the BC SPCA. In a release, the organisation called it a “Christmas miracle that these puppies were saved from neglect and brought in from the cold."

For now, the animals are living at one of the SPCA's shelters, but the location is not being disclosed for the animals' protection. There are now calls for donations to help look after them.

“There’s a lot of needs that come with (taking care of animals), we’ll be looking to spay and neuter all of them, vaccinate them , provide them with care and socialisation," Moriarty said. “If people are wanting to get that last minute donation before the end of the year for tax purposes and to help out these animals, please visit our website.”

According to the BC SPCA, it costs more than $430 to prepare a single healthy dog for adoption. The 19 rescued dogs need more than basic care and will cost more to prep for adoption, the SPCA said. Donations can be made online.

This is not an isolated case.

Two weeks ago, four dogs were surrendered by a backyard breeder in Maple Ridge – they were living in their own feces and surrounded by garbage.

In November, five cats were found in a wire crate in the south Okanagan – only one of them survived.

Moriarty says the SPCA has seen an increase in cases such as these – in which animals are living outside during cold weather – but she doesn't believe the number of animals being left outside is increasing.

"I don’t think it’s an increase in people leaving dogs out," Moriarty said. "I think it’s the opposite, it’s an increase in people being concerned.”