Two thin rabbits were dumped with the rubbish bins on a Leeds street.
The abandoned pair were cast aside, alongside another dead rabbit in a pet carrier on Regent Crescent in Horsforth on Monday.
They were left running loose beside a hutch.
A member of the public spotted the rabbits and managed to catch them before calling the RSPCA.
RSPCA inspector Jo Hartley said: “These rabbits were literally dumped out like rubbish, with the bins. This is a despicable way to treat animals.
“One of the rabbits was dead and the two others are thin and could easily have come to grief.
“If it hadn’t been for the members of the public spotting and catching them they wouldn’t have survived.
“I don’t know if they had escaped from the hutch or were released.”
The animal welfare charity is appealing for information about the rabbits and their owner.
The dead rabbit was white with grey ears. It was in a filthy blue pet carrier with a white wire top. The carrier contained a food bowl, some dry rabbit food and a water bottle.
Both surviving rabbits are black and white. They were taken to a local private boarding establishment where they are now being cared for.
Anyone with information is asked to call the RSPCA appeal line on 0300 123 8018.