EVEN the Grinch wouldn't do this to his dog Max.

Seven puppies who are no more than two months old were found abandoned yesterday in a crate on the side of Route 291 in Chester, said Delaware County SPCA spokeswoman Justina Calgiano.

They were brought in to the SPCA shortly before noon by two Good Samaritans who asked not to be identified, Calgiano said. The puppies were covered in feces, leaving SPCA officials to wonder how long they had been left out in the cold.

Some were skinnier than others and some had weepy eyes, but all were generally in good health, Calgiano said.

The puppies, six of them male, appear to be shepherd-Labrador mixes and all from the same litter, Calgiano said. They were christened with Christmas names by the SPCA staff - the female pup was named Dancer and her brothers were named Comet, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolph, Buddy the Elf and Kris.

The puppies are expected to be spayed and neutered next week and will be adoptable in time for Christmas.

"Our goal is to get them healthy and place them in homes," Calgiano said.

If found, the creep who dumped the pups - whose heart must be full of unwashed socks and whose soul is full of gunk - could face abandonment charges under animal-cruelty laws.