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 issues of pet owner and airline responsibilities.
Technorati’s Travel Section covered the danger of transporting pets, especially short-muzzle dogs like bulldogs, in a July feature, 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 issued 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.Continued on the next page