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SPIVEYS CORNER, N.C. – Deputies in North Carolina are investigating after two puppies were found inside a cardboard box sealed with tape.

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The puppies were found outside Halls Store in Spiveys Corner early Sunday, WNCN-TV reported. Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton told the television station that a passerby was walking by the store and stopped to investigate.

After finding the puppies, the person called 911, according to WRAL-TV.

It was unclear how long the puppies were trapped inside the box and how long the box was outside the store, WNCN reported.

The puppies are safe at the Sampson County Animal Shelter, according to the television station.

Thornton brought food, treats and toys for the two dogs later in the weekend, according to the sheriff’s Facebook page.