Illegally Imported, Abandoned Puppies at Risk of Inhumane Deportation

October 3, 2020


UPDATE:  The ASPCA is relieved to hear that the CDC and local responders have reached an agreement to allow the 15 puppies to be quarantined in the United States so they can eventually be fostered and adopted.  We appreciate the steadfast resolve of all those involved in this case. The ASPCA looks forward to working with Congress, the CDC, USDA, and other agencies to stop the illegal import of puppies and to ensure the health and safety of pets legally entering this country.

Originally posted September 29, 2020

Like many, we were shocked to hear of the plight of the 15 French Bulldog puppies who were recently found suffering in a warehouse in the Chicago area. The dogs were shipped from Jordan to the United States, despite an existing federal ban on importing puppies under six months old for the pet trade. The puppies were then abandoned in a warehouse, resulting in the death of one of them, until local law enforcement received a tip and rescued the puppies, placing them with a local rescue organization that could provide them with veterinary care. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced its intent to send the dogs back to their country of origin—a move that would further compromise their health and potentially put their lives in jeopardy—instead of allowing them to remain in this country.

The ASPCA has communicated to the CDC our strong desire that the agency use its discretion to allow these animals to continue to receive needed care and any necessary quarantine in the United States [PDF]. The 15 puppies are likely not healthy enough to endure a flight back to Jordan, and it’s uncertain what their fate would be upon arrival. The most humane option is to allow the dogs to stay in the United States to receive any needed medical care and continue their quarantine until their case is resolved.

This unfolding tragedy is one of several recently publicized incidents where the CDC has threatened to send animals back to other countries due to paperwork defects rather than choosing to find more humane and practical solutions. The CDC must balance the goal of protecting public health and thwarting the spread of zoonotic diseases with the pivotal role it plays in ensuring humane treatment of animals coming into this country. To prevent future loss of life and injury to dogs shipped to the United States, the ASPCA will work with the CDC and other entities to make the necessary policy changes to ensure animals entering this country do not suffer the same fate and uncertainty as these French Bulldogs.

In uncertain times like these, we need dedicated advocates to help push our work forward. If you’re interested in helping dogs across the country—like dogs who suffer because of the commercial breeding industry—please join the Advocacy Brigade today.