Ten dogs and puppies found "half dead" in shut vans on a ferry crossing the English Channel on the U.K.'s hottest day of the year are now safe.
According to SWNS, the canines were being transported an hour and a half from France to the U.K. in 40-degree Celsius heat (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday.
The company responsible for shipping the dogs apologized for an "error of judgement" after the puppies were found "half dead" in the vans on the ferry. Daisybrook Kennels and Transport Services were shipping the animals from Germany through France to England to deliver the dogs to their owners.
Hannah Mason was travelling on the P&O Ferry carrying the two vans of canines when chaos broke out in the car hold.
"As we were getting back in the car, a lady sprinted past me looking for a member of staff. As I turned around, there was a yellow Lab on the floor looking almost dead," Mason told SWNS.
"I thought it was somebody's pet that had reacted to the heat, but when I went to help, another man told me that there were 10 of them in two vans," she added.
Mason and other passengers helped the suffering pups, bringing them water and cooling cloths.
"We were quite literally holding their heads up and feeding them with water bottles," she said, adding, "Some of them couldn't even lift up their own heads; they were half dead."
The ferry's staff took the least affected puppies to the boat's dog-friendly zone, while the ferry's captain contacted Daisybrook Kennels and Transport Services about the condition of the canines.
After the dogs were discovered, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) boarded the ship and took the dogs to a vet.
Following an outcry on social media, Daisybrook Kennels apologized for how the dogs were treated during their transportation.
The owner blamed the dog's poor health on a "combination of events" that prevented the vans carrying them from catching an earlier ferry, which prolonged the time the dogs spent confined in the vans during hot weather.
Three of the ten dogs rescued from the vans were extremely ill due to the heat, although all were taken to the vets as a precaution.
"We stayed at the vet until 1:30 a.m this morning, and the vet, who was absolutely fantastic, came to tell me that the three were stable and all should be able to go to their homes," Daisybrook Kennels added in its statement.
"I can't express the gratitude I feel for the selfless help that I received from all involved, including ferry staff, DEFRA, passengers and the staff at the vet. Also, to the new owners of the babies, who have all been very understanding. I cannot explain my sorrow for what my error of judgement has put the babies through and their owners who trusted me," Daisybrook Kennels added in their statement, according to SWNS.
P&O Ferries issued its own statement, reinforcing the company's feelings on animal welfare.
"We would like to make clear that we insist on the highest possible standards of animal welfare on all of our ships," a spokesperson for P&O told SWNS. "As soon as the captain and crew found out that dogs were in distress, they did everything possible to help."
"P&O Ferries are delighted to hear that the dogs are now recovering, and we will continue to welcome pet owners onboard our vessels," the company added.