Twenty-three French bulldog puppies found crammed inside a hot moving truck in Texas have been rescued and taken to Chicago for treatment.
The Chicago French Bulldog Rescue said 28 puppies were initially discovered last month by authorities in Texarkana, Texas, during a traffic stop. The animals were packed tightly in plastic crates inside an un-air conditioned moving van that had reached 121 degrees, the rescue said.
The puppies had no access to food or water and were in various stages of heat exhaustion, officials said. One of the puppies was found dead in a crate and four more died shortly after being rescued, according to the organization.
The Humane Society of the United States said the puppies were initially flown to Chicago on a Turkish Airlines flight from Kiev, Ukraine. Their final destination was set to be Houston, but the person who purchased them was denied entry to the George Bush Intercontinental Airport for “the purpose of importing live animals.”
That’s when the puppies were loaded into a moving van in Chicago and driven to Texas. They were ultimately found by state police before they made it to their destination.
“Without the swift intervention of local law enforcement, it is likely many more of these puppies would have succumbed to heat stroke and died during the remaining 300-mile journey to Houston in the sweltering heat of that cargo van,” Katie Jarl, regional director for the HSUS, said in a statement.
The Chicago French Bulldog Rescue obtained a court order for custody of the animals Monday and by Wednesday, the rescue picked up the puppies in Texarkana and flew them on a private plane to Chicago for treatment.
“Right now, these dogs are sick and the vets are just overwhelmed,” the rescue’s founder, Mary Schefke, told NBC 5 Thursday. “These dogs are skinny and malnutritioned and sick.”
She noted they “had bloody diarrhea and were vomiting.”
“There’s been repercussions to them being in the heat for as long as they were,” she said.
Schefke said since news of the puppies was first posted to Facebook, the rescue has been inundated with adoption requests, but she stressed the animals were in no shape to go to a home.
“I don’t think people understand the condition these puppies are in,” she said. “Right now what we need, what would help us, is for people to understand that these dogs are sick and they’re not ready for adoption. We need donations to get them the vetting they need. It’s not cheap to keep one dog in isolation, let alone 23.”
Donations can be made here.