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5,000 cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs found dead in boxes at Chinese shipping depot

"It was like a living hell," an animal rescuer told CBS News in a phone interview.
Credit: Utopia animal rescue charity
Boxes that had contained live rabbits, guinea pigs, cats and dogs without food or water are seen at the Dongxing Logistics station in Luohe city, in China's Henan province

BEIJING, China — About 5,000 pets were found dead in shipping boxes at a facility in Central China last week, CBS News reports.

An animal rescue group told the news outlet that only a couple hundred animals were saved, and an investigation was underway after the horrific discovery in the Henan Province.

"The station was cluttered with express boxes with thousands of animals that had already died, and the entire place reeks of rotting bodies," said ‘Sister Hua’ with the rescue group Utopia.

"It was like a living hell," she told CBS News over the phone.

Among the dead animals were cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs. All were in "plastic or metal cages wrapped in cardboard with breathing holes," reported CBS. It is estimated they were left without food or water for about a week.

"It was obvious they died of suffocation, dehydration and starvation," said Hua. 

It’s believed they are victims of a miscommunication in China’s mass-breeding industry, CBS News reported. Read more here.