I’ve traveled with one of my cats before, and made sure I could take her into the plane’s cabin with me. As long as I had the right-size carrying bag for Krava, and booked her (with a fee) before anyone else did (I think they allowed up to two animals per flight), I was able to fly her to New York from Los Angeles and back with a minimal amount of concern for me and my wife. Of course, Krava didn’t love the experience, but it went a lot better than I ever expected, and she had us nearby the entire time. She enjoyed meeting my in-laws and getting to run around a real, live house for once, so I’m glad we brought her with us. The following press release sent to me earlier in the week by Brian Vincent gave me chills:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29, 2006
AIRLINE TRANSPORTATION CAN BE FATAL FOR YOUR PETS
Puppy Dies Because American Airlines Denied Animal Emergency Care
San Francisco, California – For one San Francisco pet, the seemingly safe trip across the country on American Airlines proved to be fatal. “Willie,” a two-year-old English bulldog died after arrival from a cross-country flight. Terrence Ing, the owner of Willie, placed his dog under the care of American Airlines to safely transport his pet on a New York to San Francisco flight. Ing never expected Willie was not going to make the trip alive. According to Ing, an American Airlines baggage manager denied him access to Willie and had the dog relocated pending instructions from airline superiors. It was only after Ing contacted several area veterinarians that animal paramedics arrived five hours after the flight landed. By then, Willie had died. An animal paramedic who examined Willie’s body at the airport believes the dog may have survived had American Airlines provided adequate medical care. Now, Ing is taking American Airlines to court.
“I was expecting Willie’s arrival day to be one of the most joyful days of my life, since we were going to start a new life together in San Francisco. Instead, that day was one of the most traumatic and devastating days that will haunt me forever. I trusted American Airlines to take care of my baby. The airline was not prepared to handle an animal emergency and was callous, unresponsive, and insensitive throughout the ordeal,” said Ing.
According to the Air Transport Association, over 500,000 animals are transported by air each year, of which only one percent experience complications. Complications range from minor issues including unapproved kennels, lack of health certificates, and missed connections to more serious problems, such as loss, injury, or death of the animal. Most injuries to animals in transit result from mishandling by baggage personnel, severe temperature fluctuations, insufficient oxygen in cargo holds, or damage to kennels. For devoted pet lovers, even one percent is a risk worth preventing when trusting an airline to transport their pets safely.
“The Animal Welfare Act requires airlines to provide prompt veterinary care to animals they transport when the animals become sick. Since American Airlines clearly could not provide this care, it was illegal and immoral to prevent Mr. Ing from taking his dog to a vet,” said Corey Evans, an attorney with Evans & Page, who represents Mr. Ing in the lawsuit against American Airlines.
Ing says he hopes the lawsuit will make American Airlines, as well as other airlines, more responsible in transporting dearly loved pets safely. American Airlines and Continental have contributed to more than half of all pet deaths on airplanes.
Digital pics of Willie the dog, as well as media stories about pet deaths related to air transport, are available at:
To read the US Department of Transportation’s report on Willie’s death, go to the following link, then scroll down to August, 2005, then to the second report:
Ing is represented by the San Francisco law office of Evans & Page with the support of Lewis & Clark Law School’s Animal Law Clinic located in Portland, Oregon.
Terrence Ing, Plaintiff, 415-517-7551
Corey Evans, Evans & Page, 415-293-8592, 415-637-2354,
Laura Ireland Moore, National Center for Animal Law, 503-768-6849
Please do what you can to minimize the chance of injury or death for your companion animal, perhaps considering alternate arrangements for travel. Maybe a road trip would be better for you and your dog.