CHICAGO (CBS) — Two Iowa men found last week in the west side Lawndale neighborhood with 43 puppies in their car can get them back.

But it’s going to cost them.

A judge, ruling Thursday in West Misedemeanor Court (Br. 43), called the case “almost a clear-cut case of animal cruelty,” city Animal Care and Control Commissioner Cherie Travis said in a statement.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

Two of the 43 puppies that police officers found in a parked vehicle, inside cramped containers without adequate food or water. Two Iowa men were charged with animal cruelty after the puppies were found. (Credit: Chicago Animal Care & Control)

While the judge ordered animal control veterinarians to determine if the puppies are healthy enough to be returned, Travis said the judge also ordered the city to calculate the costs for boarding and veterinary care, and submit a bill that Travis Wester, 22, and Larry Subject, 49, apparently will have to pay.

The judge said the “expense would not be borne by the taxpayers,” Travis said.

A passing police car early Feb. 7 heard the yapping coming from a vehicle parked in the 2500 block of West cermak Road. Wester and Subject were using the vehicle to transport the dogs from Iowa to pet stores in Chicago and New York.

Police said the dogs were in cramped containers and did not appear to have adequate food or water.

The judge said it was not an “ideal way” to transport animals, but Travis said the judge did not find the conditions bad enough to forfeit the dogs.

Travis said that the puppies included boxers, Chihuahuas, huskies and Pekingese.