Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A judge issued a gag order on Wednesday, along with a deadline in the dispute over the 27 puppies rescued from a pet store fire.
The raffle of those puppies is still on hold, and the ownership of the puppies is still up in the air after a judge told attorneys for both sides they have 45 days to settle their lawsuit.
Several animal advocates chanted on the downtown courthouse steps, hoping a judge would rule the 27 puppies could be released and placed in foster care.
But their chants fell on deaf ears.
"This is about The Animal Foundation holding on to dogs that don't belong to them," said Gina Greisen.
Judge Kenneth Cory imposed a 45 day deadline on attorneys for the pet shop managing owner and The Animal Foundation to settle their lawsuit over who owns the puppies.
He also issued a gag order in front of a packed courtroom, including the district attorney. If a settlement is reached, the press won't be notified.
A planned raffle by The Animal Foundation now remains on hold, and the puppies will continue in their care.
With the judge's ruling, animal advocates are concerned the health of the 27 dogs and puppies is in jeopardy if they have to remain at the foundation another month and a half.
"At this point we feel these puppies are being held for ransom at the shelter and your tax dollars are being used to fight you on getting these dogs to a proper home," said Greisen.
Now the clock is ticking, and advocates like Greisen hope it's not too late for those puppies.
The judge said if both sides cannot resolve within the allotted 45 days, they will then have to reset a date for another hearing.
The Animal Foundation was not able to comment on the ruling to Action News.