On Aug 28, 2012, United Airlines killed my 2.5 year old Mastiff BamBam. After making every promise to guarantee his safety with United’s Pet Safe program, from the website to the booking agents to the ground personnel, guaranteeing air conditioned vans to and from the plane and air conditioned cargo areas at all times, United did none of it. On our layover in Houston, for over three hours, he was kept in temperatures in the 90’s. First placed on the tarmac, then in open luggage containers, then in a “holding area” with no a/c. At the height of summer during a heat wave in Texas. Never once was he placed in the air conditioning as promised, the cornerstone of the Pet Safe program.
He was dead on arrival in San Francisco. Although we saw with our own eyes the condition he was in when being boarded, and United’s own admission of NO a/c, and the later admission that NO pet is put in the air conditioned cargo area for layovers of less than 4 hours, they denied any wrong doing. After reviewing the autopsy report, our vet was 100% convinced the cause of death was heatstroke. United’s conclusion was; inconclusive. We were offered travel vouchers and weeks of corporate cover up and then lies to the media of his “special” care while in their hands.
There needs to be an enormous lobby for the airline industry fights any and all expansion of federal oversight in animal transportation. Every 9 days a pet dies on a commercial airline, and hundreds, or thousands, of other animals die each year with zero accountability as to the actual numbers or causes of death. If you accidentally leave a pet in a car in the heat you can be criminally charge with animal cruelty, yet the airlines take our money, sell us their “expertise,” then kill our family pets, deny responsibility and wash their hands by offering traveling vouchers like they are a lost suitcase.
OUR PETS ARE NOT BAGGAGE. The airline lobby may be huge, but the American pet owners “lobby” is worth 45 billion dollars a year and we demand change. We can make change if we stand together with our family members who cannot stand up for themselves.
THE CHANGE WE WANT:
Fully disclose the number of total animal deaths that occur to the Department of Transportation, not just pets.
The airlines to be held liable for wrongful deaths of our pets as living creatures and not as “baggage.”
An independent third party, not the airline, be in charge of the autopsy and the investigation into cause of a pets death.
Links covering this story: