Puppy Deaths On Plane Are Unacceptable

From NMT Images

Puppy Deaths On Plane Are Unacceptable

The death of seven puppies this week on an American Airline flight from Tulsa to Chicago broke the hearts of pet owners everywhere, and once again raised the issue of pet owner and airline responsibilities.

Tripatini previously published a post of mine on the dangers of transporting pets, especially short-muzzle dogs like bulldogs, but the death of seven out of the 14 puppies being transported is a clarion call for action and policy changes.

In a powerfully worded statement Thursday, August 5th, the Humane Society called for an investigation saying, “If these puppies died because of the hot conditions in the cargo hold, then this would be a violation of the Animal Welfare Act...the suffering that these animals may have endured before they died is difficult to imagine, defenseless puppies (probably) trapped inside a sweltering cargo hold.”

CBS News reported that the shipper put the puppies on Flight 851 scheduled to leave Tulsa (Okla.) at 6:30 a.m., but the departure was delayed by storms in Chicago.

As the plane sat on the tarmac, the temperatures rose to 86 degrees, according to the National Weather Service, even though American Airlines’ policy dictates they will not fly animals when the temperature is above 85 degrees. And they claim cargo temps typically are between 50 and 70 degrees.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends that pet owners not fly their pets in airline cargo holds, and Rocky McKelvey, regional medical director in Texas for VCA Animal Hospitals, told Texas radio station WTOP that he hates signing shipping papers for dogs, papers authorizing them to be shipped in the cargo holds. "I'd like to see them in the cabin,” he said

Travel Editor, Peter Greenberg, told CBS News that animals under 20 pounds should never fly in the cargo hold. And while every airline has different policies regarding the transport of (pets (time of year; kind of pet; temperature restrictions) most airlines will allow one animal in the cabin per coach (Business, First and Coach) he says, but “they have to fit under the seat in front of you and you can't take them out during the flight.”

Suggestions to safeguard pets in flight:
• Fly animals only on direct flight only
• Put ice cubes in a Ziplock bag, and just before departure, put the cubes in a water dish to insure your pet can hydrate
• Insist that your pet be removed from the plane if the flight is delayed. Greenberg emphasizes that only the pet owner is really responsible for the pet, and has the animal’s best interest at heart.
• Be certain you see your pet’s kennel cage loaded onto your flight, and if at all possible, use a professional pet transportation company, such as those found at Independent Pet Animal Transportation Association (IPATA)

I don’t know exactly how they do it, but IPATA says they “provide services that are in the best interest of the family pet.”

Anything is better than the brutal stories of puppies dying because of delayed flights sitting on the tarmac and overheated cargo holds.

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  • Compliments to the Swiss manager for even asking you

    I think, truthfully, as Eckhardt Tolle says, we really do need to , must move to another level of consciousness and that pertains to animals and us, oceans, food chain compassion, relationships, wars, etc.
    But, thanks again for talking to us
  • Does that mean that you are a vegetarian Kaleel? We've tried and not been totally successful but have significantly reduced our "footprint" of animal consumption.
    One difference between Americans and Europeans in the more liberal rules of dogs especially is we don't train our dogs as well...at least not most owners. So how many people have you seen in public with a dog that they couldn't handle it much let have it at the restaurant table?
    In Switzerland I was eating lunch at a very high end restaurant when the manager came to ask if I minded that people who wanted the table next to mine had a dog (we were overlooking a lake). He recognized that I was from the US where this wasn't common. Obviously having dogs as grandchildren it wouldn't bother me. Plus the luncheon "person" weighed in at about 4 lbs and never let out a peep. Better behaved than most children.

    Like the Jet Blue attendant maybe we need to be more aggressive about peoples children but then again will we be arrested too? Doesn't news of the weird still feature dumb laws occasionally?
  • What really bothers me, and this is a topic for another post, is that we eat animals, let alone not let them fly wit us.
    Thanks for writing in, Wendy
  • Well, at the risk of sounding extreme, what really bothers me is that we eat animals! But that's another topic.
    Thanks for writing in, Wendy
  • I have an idea: whoever determined that pets can't fly in the cabin should be forced to fly in a crate in the cargo hold. What is our problem with animals in this country???? In Europe, you see people sitting inside cafes & restaurants with their dogs and has anybody died?? This issue really gets me going. My Jack Russell is cleaner AND nicer than 90% of the people sitting in your average restaurant. But he can't join me at dinner, and, being a little chunky and over 20 lbs, he can't fly with me either. If we can put up with screaming babies, vomiting toddlers and unbearable children kicking your seat, we can certainly put up with pets in the cabin.

    Can we start a petition or something??
  • Well, Mary, we can be a brutal species sometime. And a loving one. Anyone who has never had and loved a pet, is missing something big time.
    Surely those handlers ought to have been fined for animal cruelty. To the airlines, pets are commodities, falling under the jurisdiction of the Dept Agriculture as livestock. Imagine!
    Thanks for writing in
  • My daughter has been showing dogs in the sport of Schutzhund for about twenty years and not only the cost of flying a dog but the deliberate carelessness of the airline personnel means that she and most dog owners drive 99.9 percent of the time. One person saw from his window seat the baggage handlers shoving the ends of brooms into the crate of his world champion dog to tease and injury it. They did. He got so excited on the plane they removed him. What is wrong with that picture? But we all know humans aren't too special to the airlines so it's not hard to think of what they do to dogs and cats.
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