Two dogs were lost, two dogs were injured, and one dog died during air travel in November on U.S. flights, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s monthly air travel report that was released Jan. 3, 2008.
Delta Airlines reported one dog death and two dog losses. A 14-month-old Bull Terrier died Nov. 20 on flight 914 from Atlanta to Buffalo, N.Y. Upon arrival, the agent reported the dog appeared to be sleeping. Upon further evaluation, another agent determined the dog was not breathing. A necropsy was performed, which indicated the dog had a pre-existing heart condition and the stress of the flight may have contributed to his death. No corrective action was taken.
In separate instances, Delta Airlines reported two dogs never arrived at their final destinations. The cases are being investigated as possible dog thefts. On Nov. 2, a Pug was traveling from Springfield, Mo., to New York’s LaGuardia airport with a stop in Atlanta. And on Nov. 26, an 8-week-old Great Dane was traveling from Montgomery, Ala., to Providence, R.I., with a stop in Atlanta. When neither dog arrived, ramp crews working all applicable flights were interviewed and employees searched for the dogs. Both dogs are still missing.
Alaska Airlines reported two dog injuries. On Nov. 19, a dog (breed and age unknown) was traveling on flight 537 from Denver to Seattle. Upon arrival in Seattle, the agent saw the dog’s paw trapped in the kennel door. After the agent freed the dog’s paw, the dog began yelping and licking his paw. The report attributes the incident to an energetic dog who tried to escape his kennel during the flight, as no handling procedures appeared to be violated. No corrective action was taken.
On Nov. 29, a dog (breed and age unknown) arrived in Seattle on Alaska Airlines flight 154 from Anchorage, Alaska in a distressed state with bleeding gums. The incident report concluded that the dog has been chewing on the inside of his kennel and scraped his gums in the process. No corrective action was taken.
In addition to dog-related incidents, Delta Airlines reported one cat escaped and one cat died and Continental Airlines reported one cat escaped during flights in November.
The Department of Agriculture states that they review airlines’ incident reports for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), such as kennel size or temperature breaches, and pursue investigations if the department questions whether the AWA was violated, according to the department’s animal care staff.
More than two million pets and live animals are transported by air each year in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
-Heidi Hatch, Associate News Editor for DogChannel.com