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Neglected dogs rescued at O’Hare warehouse will be deported, caretakers warn

Police said more than a dozen dogs were found without food or water in a cargo warehouse in late August. One of them had died.

Two French Bulldogs found in an O’Hare Airport warehouse Aug. 31, 2020. The dogs will be allowed to remain in the U.S.
Two French Bulldogs found in an O’Hare Airport warehouse Aug. 31, 2020. Their caretakers say the dogs may be deported.
Chicago French Bulldog Rescue

A pack of French Bulldogs that survived a close encounter with death while stranded at O’Hare Airport will likely be deported in the coming days, an animal welfare group says.

Chicago French Bulldog Rescue has cared for the 15 dogs since they were found Aug. 31, allegedly caged two-by-two in unsanitary conditions at a cargo warehouse while awaiting their medical papers after arriving from Jordan.

One of the dogs died during the three-day period before a tipster notified Chicago police. The dogs were divided between Chicago animal control and the rescue group, which is now pleading for the dogs to stay in the country.

“We’re asking for amnesty for the dogs,” said Mary Scheffke, president of Chicago French Bulldog Rescue. “They’ve been isolated and they’re healthy.”

Scheffke said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will likely secure a federal court order in next few days that will send the dogs back to Jordan on the same airline she accused of neglecting the dogs in the first place.

Scheffke said the CDC is supporting Royal Jordanian Airlines in their request for deportation. She’s calling on community members to pressure the CDC to reverse its stance.

The CDC and Royal Jordanian Airlines did not immediately reply to requests seeking comment.

Scheffke said one of the French Bulldogs dogs tested positive for parvovirus but has been treated and is now healthy. Scheffke said the airline failed by not ensuring the dogs had medical papers before transporting them.

“If those dogs had been left in the airport, they probably all would’ve tested positive,” she said.

According to Chicago police, 17 dogs were left without food and water with a cargo handling company at O’Hare in late August after enduring a 13-hour flight from Amman, Jordan.

The dogs were left in the warehouse because they lacked vaccination documents and would not be released to their new owners by the CDC, police said.

In a statement, the Chicago French Bulldog Rescue said the dogs were found in crates caked with fecal matter and urine. The dogs had skin lesions and one dog has discharge from its eye, Scheffke said.

“The van the rescued dogs were in was covered in flies due to the pups being covered in feces and urine,” one rescue volunteer said in the statement. “It was horrible for them. We couldn’t get the smell off us for days.”

Miami-based Alliance Ground International — in charge of overseeing the Aug. 28 shipment of dogs — was cited for animal cruelty and neglect. The company denied neglecting the dogs and claimed it had fed, given water, cleaned and moved them to an air-conditioned part of their warehouse, despite one of the dogs in their care dying.

If the group gets amnesty for the dogs, they will be socialized and moved into foster homes, Scheffke said.