This truck-load of smuggled pet dogs were rescued just moments before crooks were allegedly due to turn them into human FOOD.

Charity Purr Paws Foundation were tipped off by a worried local who spotted the pets being stuffed in a bus luggage rack and tied on to the back of a truck.

They sprang into action and dispatched a van of volunteers who joined the police in a joint sting on the van which was destined for a slaughterhouse in India.

The 17 yelping pooches were all taken in by the charity and found new homes within a day, and police are now investigating.

Smuggling of dogs for their meat is on the rise in the north-eastern parts of India where their meat is considered a delicacy, locals said.

Ornella Pachuau, a member of Purr Paws Foundation said: "A friend of mine took the pictures of the dogs being allegedly stolen.

Evening Times:

"He messaged me saying that the dogs were being tied and taken away.

"They were crying. I copied and forwarded on to our Purr Paws WhatsApp groups and we contacted the police."

One local added: "They informed other volunteers, through social media updates.

"They rallied forces and began chasing the lorry all the while coordinating through WhatsApp messages.

"Subsequently, they were also able to get the support of the police and together they intercepted the vehicle.

"All the dogs were adopted within a day of their rescue."

The truckload of dogs was spotted in the north-eastern state of Mizoram on October 12, and horrific photos show them tied in sacks.

The truck was intercepted close to the alleged slaughterhouse in Aizwal, in Kolashib district.

A video shows the dogs tied up awaiting adoption after they were rescued.

The charity claim it faces criticism from some locals from "tribal societies" who are happy to eat dog.

Purr Paws member Nandini Baruva said: "Social media has been very helpful connecting volunteers together, but still there are trolls that we face.

"Some people feel that eating dog meat is part of their culture, even though there is a supreme court verdict stating its illegal."