A California woman claims that United Airlines killed her 2-year-old Golden Retriever, Bea, on a flight from New York to California two weeks ago.
The accusation appears on her beamakesthree blog, which prominently featured her puppy.
“I’m writing this with my anger aside, in the hopes that someone looking for advice will read this and not make the mistake of trusting United with their pets as we did,” she posted earlier today.
The story is a sad one. A caring dog owner returning from an East Coast summer vacation took all needed precautions to ensure that two of her dogs would travel safely home, driving from Upstate New York to Newark airport to plan a direct flight, enrolling the pets in United’s PetSafe program, buying extra food and crates and special water bowls, and of course, undergoing thorough vet checks.
“When we arrived in San Francisco to pick up our dogs we drove to the dark cargo terminal and on arrival in the hanger were told simply, ‘one of them is dead’ by the emotionless worker who seemed more interested in his text messages,” she wrote.
Maggie described the struggle she had with supervisors to get her dog to a preferred vet for autopsy (called necropsy in animals) and the resulting cause of death was heatstroke.
United, she says, has not responded to repeated requests for comment or further explanation as to how her dog could have died in flight, simply stating, “our internal investigation does not show any irregularities, as evidenced by the fact that your companion dog and other animals on board did not suffer the same fate.”
She does not confirm if the airline refunded the $1,800 in expenses they incurred to travel with their pets.
Maggie, we’re so sorry for your loss.
Editor Note: We have reached out to United for comment and have been told that a statement will be issued soon. We will update the post here when an official comment is made.
Update, 4:34 PM ET: United issued the following statement:
We understand that the loss of a beloved pet is difficult and express our condolences to Ms. Rizer and her family for their loss. After careful review, we found there were no mechanical or operational issues with Bea’s flight and also determined she was in a temperature-controlled environment for her entire journey. We would like finalize the review but are unable until we receive a copy of the necropsy.
[Image via beamakesthree]