"All they wanted was the dog, not the press intrusion," Heathrow spokesman Mark Pursey said Friday.
The American owners of "Gucci", a young Maltese terrier, had been stopped by customs officials after arriving from Paris by train, Pursey said. All dogs entering Britain must undergo a six-month quarantine, although the Labor government recently announced plans to relax the tough anti-rabies regulations.
Gucci was placed in temporary quarantine while the unidentified couple took a two-week vacation in Britain, after which the three were supposed to return to New York together. But the couple never came back to get the dog.
When contacted in New York by animal customs officers, the couple said they wanted the little dog euthanized.
On Tuesday, a member of the ruling family in the United Arab Emirates agreed to adopt Gucci, but that changed when the press picked up on the story. Heathrow was inundated by calls from people pretending to be members of the royal household and the phone of the ruling family themselves was ringing off the hook, Pursey said.
Though the family's offer was withdrawn, all is not lost. Pursey said there have been hundreds of offers to adopt Gucci.
If the new owner is British, Gucci will have to spend six months in quarantine. But if the owner lives abroad in a country without quarantine, she'll be able to go straight to her new home.
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