GARFIELD, N.J. -- (UPDATE) Three Florida residents charged with animal cruelty for packing 26 thirsty, imported puppies into a minivan found parked behind the Walmart in Garfield didn't show up for court Tuesday, authorities said.
GARFIELD, N.J. -- (UPDATE) Two crates piled atop one another held 26 thirsty puppies in a minivan found parked behind the Walmart in Garfield on Saturday, authorities told Daily Voice.
"It appears as though they were flown from Colombia to JFK yesterday and were on their way to Florida," Deborah Yankow, director of the Bergen County Animal Shelter told Daily Voice late Saturday.
(Cartels have been known to import dogs for cash.)
CLICK HERE TO SEE SOME OF THE PUPPIES:
None of the 7-to-8-week-old English and French bulldog puppies was in critical condition, despite temperatures that broke 90 degrees Saturday afternoon.
However, Yankow said, "they were very, very, very thirsty and dehydrated."
"First thing they did when we got them into the adoption van was lap water," she said. "We're going to fully evaluate them [Sunday]."
Yankow and her staff were in the middle of a "Clear the Shelters" event, sponsored nationwide by NBC and Telemundo , when they got a call around 3 p.m. Saturday from the Bergen County SPCA, which seized the puppies.
(The Bergen shelter had 53 adoptions Saturday, with nearly a dozen more expected Sunday.)
NBC had to postpone taping a segment as Yankow and her staff took the shelter adoption van to Garfield -- with a news crew tailing them.
"The puppies were behind the store locked in a white minivan," she told Daily Voice. "There were no humans with them.
"Eventually, someone showed up. They were supposed to produce paperwork, but I don't think they did."
Three men from Florida who were using the Florida-registered minivan received summonses from the SPCA, a law enforcement official told Daily Voice.
The shelter will hold the puppies in the custody of the SPCA until the case is resolved.
"If they don't show up for court, the shelter is awarded custody," Yankow said Saturday night.
"I'm already flooded with calls," she added. "The puppies won't be available for a little while. Hopefully they speed [the legal process] along."
The Bergen County Prosecutor's Office and the Bergen County SPCA were investigating.
CHECK BACK FOR PHOTOS
The Bergen County Animal Shelter is at 100 United Lane in Teterboro.
- SITE: http://www.co.bergen.nj.us/1002/Animal-Shelter-Adoption-Center
- PHONE: (201) 229-4600
- EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
ALSO SEE: A 30-year-old Polish immigrant from Garfield survived after being struck by a commuter train late Saturday, NJ Transit told Daily Voice.
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