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Airlines start reporting animal deaths, injuries

I always wondered what it would be like to fly with my dogs, apparently “risky” at best....

BY JOHN HUGHES
BLOOMBERG

Ten animals were killed, injured or lost by six U.S. airlines in May, the first month for which carriers were required to report to the government.

A large dog escaped his kennel in the cargo hold of an Alaska Airlines flight and killed an Abyssinian cat named Tango in one of the four deaths reported Thursday by the Transportation Department in Washington, D.C. Five animals were injured, and one was lost, the report says.

“It’s been a hidden secret for so long how many animals are lost, hurt and killed,” said Barbara Listenik, a Brooklyn, N.Y., artist who campaigned for the reporting requirement. “That’s why I fought so hard for this.”

In April 2000 Congress enacted the law for airlines, which transport about 500,000 animals a year. The information, which the government will disclose monthly, “will help consumers make informed decisions about whether and how to travel with pets,” the Department of Transportation said.

A dog and rat arrived dead on Continental Airlines Inc. flights due to natural causes, the report says. A Sheltie named Kelly was put to death after ingesting a toxic substance, possibly antifreeze, on a US Airways Group Inc. flight, the report says.

Injuries and a loss were reported by Northwest Airlines Corp., Continental, Alaska Air Group Inc.’s Alaska, Frontier Airlines Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc.’s Comair.

“Obviously one injured or killed pet or animal onboard an aircraft is too many,” said Jack Evans, spokesman for the Air Transport Association, a Washington trade group whose members include major U.S. carriers. The 10 incidents reported show problems are “the exception rather than the rule,” he said.

Groups such as the Cat Fanciers Association called the legislation the “Boris bill,” named after Listenik’s dog.

Boris, a boxer-pit bull mix, ran onto the tarmac at New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Christmas Eve in 1996, was chased by a cargo crew, dashed through a terminal followed by police and finally escaped through an airport door, Listenik said. The dog was found emaciated, dirty and injured six weeks later in an abandoned building in Queens, she said.

Boris required surgeries and lived until February, when he died at age 17, Listenik said.

“After my incident with Boris, I had to do something,” she said. “I’m excited about seeing this bill put into play. Animals are not cargo, they are people’s family members. Airlines have to take responsibility.”


Posted by rosevine69 on 07/10 at 09:05 AM in Pet People

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