Group refuses to hand over 15 rescued French bulldog puppies
A Chicago-based animal rescue group has refused to hand over 15 French bulldog puppies it saved from an O'Hare International Airport warehouse, defying a federal order out of concern for the animals' "health and welfare."
Federal authorities gave Chicago French Bulldog Rescue until 9 a.m. Monday to return the dogs to the owner in Jordan. The dogs were scheduled to be flown there Monday afternoon.
The puppies arrived in Chicago on Aug. 28. They had been housed in crowded crates in a corner of the warehouse for four days without food and water, sitting in their own urine and feces until they were discovered by a truck driver, according to Chicago French Bulldog Rescue, which took them in Aug. 31.
The group's attorney is working on next steps, while elected officials - U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley of Chicago and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates - put pressure on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Jordanian government to allow the puppies to remain in U.S. permanently.
"Thousands of people have reached out offering to adopt these puppies, and that's just not where we are at," group spokeswoman Mika Ann Stambaugh said. "We need to first secure their health and safety. ... We're fighting to get them to stay here."
Stambaugh said the rescue group does not legally own the puppies to offer them for adoption. They remain in quarantine and are being cared for at veterinary clinics in Chicago and the suburbs.
Rescue officials said the group has spent $45,000 so far to nurse the puppies back to health. Putting them back into crates on a 13-hour flight to Jordan further risks their health, officials said.
French bulldogs are among the top breeds in demand and often are trafficked illegally.
Quigley said he had a lengthy, "heated" discussion with CDC officials Friday and aims to work with federal authorities to ensure such animal abuses don't occur.
"The handlers of these dogs falsified immunizations. ... Obviously these dogs have been abused," Quigley said. "We have bought some time while we try to come to that humanitarian solution for the dogs that addresses the public health concerns."
Quigley urged prospective pet owners to adopt from local breeders, shelters and rescues instead of international breeders who could be scammers and abusers.
"I care about these dogs, but I don't want this to happen again," Quigley said. "We need to cut the spigot off. You can still care about all the world's problems and make time to take care of a few puppies."