Inspector Tracy Naughton with Roe. Below, the box in which Roe was found
Animal welfare officers say the malnourished Staffordshire Bull Terrier crossbreed, which had chewed through its cardboard container but was still sheltering in the box when it was discovered, could have been stolen to farm litters of prestige dogs.
Staffy breeding has become a lucrative business in recent years due to demand among some young men who see the powerful dog as a status symbol. Just one Staffy pup can cost up to 500.
It is thought the three or four-year-old bitch, named Roe and found on Sunday near Braid Hills Golf Course, had been abandoned overnight.
"She has definitely had a few litters of puppies, which you can tell by the shape of her nipples, so absolutely there's that possibility that she has been stolen for breeding and then later abandoned," said Scottish SPCA inspector Tracy Naughton.
"Roe is also a very nice looking dog with different colouring compared to that of many other Staffies which could be attractive to people farming pups.
"We are seeing more and more of these kinds of dogs abandoned because of the type of person that wants a Staffy.
"Often they go to the wrong type of owners, people get them and maybe their personal circumstances change and they can't keep them so they end up abandoned."
Ms Naughton said unwanted dogs can be so shell-shocked by their ordeal that they often will remain in the spot they were left for up to a week, hoping their owners will return.
The SSPCA has today launched an appeal to help trace those responsible.
"This was a very cruel abandonment," said Ms Naughton. "Whoever left her must have known she'd be found but they had taped up the cardboard box. Roe had managed to chew her way out but was curled up in the box, shaking and extremely distressed when she was discovered. Thankfully, she hadn't ran out on to the road and been knocked down. She is quite thin so she wasn't looked after properly before she was abandoned."
In another incident last Friday, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier was found tied to a tree in freezing conditions near a quiet footpath in Bathgate, West Lothian. The dog had been tethered using a washing line and rescuers said it was lucky it didn't die in the cold weather.
Abandoning an animal is an offence and if convicted the perpetrators can be fined and banned from keeping animals. Anyone with information should contact the Scottish SPCA on 03000-999 999.