Twenty-six very thirsty puppies were recently found inside a stifling van parked outside a New Jersey Walmart, authorities said.
The French and English bulldogs were stuffed into two crates on a hot and humid day over the weekend.
“They were literally on top of each other,” Bergen County Director of Animal Services Deborah Yankow told WCBS-TV.
“It was a 90-degree day; they were all overheated,” she said. “They’re all short-nosed puppies, which have a very serious reaction to heat normally, let alone in the back of a car.”
The drivers of the van had reportedly left the dogs for about 45 minutes and returned as animal control officers were rescuing the puppies.
The dogs were placed in the officers’ van, where they “literally jumped into the water bottles,” Yankow said.
Documentation found with the puppies showed they may have been imported from Colombia, she said.
It wasn’t clear where they were headed.
The dogs would sell for between $1,000 and $3,000 each, Yankow said.
The puppies were transported to an animal shelter in Teterboro, where they will be held in quarantine for three weeks, Yankow said.
Animal authorities haven’t said whether anyone will be charged in connection with the dogs.
Yankow said her office has been deluged with calls from people wanting to adopt the puppies.
But the animals must first pass quarantine before they can be put up for adoption, she said.