We’ve all heard the frustrating stories of airlines losing or mishandling luggage, but nothing as horrifying as the recent loss of Larry, an Italian greyhound, one of the dogs that are very good with children that an American woman was attempting to relocate to a British Columbia family. Sadly, the dog got away at a San Francisco airport and died after Air Canada staff let him out during a delay.
Apparently the greyhound was later found by a good Samaritan who took him to a local veterinarian who had to put down the dog because of its critical injuries. The dog breeder and new owners didn’t find out that Larry was dead until much later when the vet tied together the notes of the good Samaritan and the story about the lost dog.
Since the story was reported, Air Canada has been facing a public relations nightmare not only because of their far less than efficient handling of the dog, but because one of their company officials accidentally sent a dismissive email regarding the matter to an American television station (CBS).
As if the reports that a major airline had misplaced a dog weren’t terrible enough, the Air Canada spokesman’s displaced email added fuel to the fire with the email that said “I think I would just ignore the problem, it’s only local news doing a story about a lost dog.”
He went on to say that the U.S. government is shut down and about to default and that this is how the United States media spends its time. The email was meant to reach another spokesperson within the airline company, and a short time later Air Canada apologized.
Jutta Kulic, a Medina, Ohio dog breeder who was shipping the dog to a new home in Canada has said that the airline agreed to pay for the veterinary hospital expenses and has also agreed to handle the airline fees for Lynda White and husband Duncan who had arranged to adopt Larry and now were traveling to Ohio to pick up Leo, Larry’s brother Leo who will not be traveling as cargo. Italian greyhounds are one of the smaller breeds in the dog world so he’ll be able to fit into the under seat section and be allowed to be in his new owner’s arms during the flight.
Kulic has said that they have yet to ask Air Canada for any additional compensation, such as to cover the veterinary bills to prepare Leo for travel. She did say however that the airline certainly has a huge responsibility when it comes to Larry’s fate and isn’t sure what Air Canada is going to do regarding avoiding instances like this in the future. Kulic went on to say that she didn’t know what she was going to do when it comes to any additional compensations; she just wants to know what Air Canada and any other airlines that have made similar mistakes were going to do to address the problem and fix whatever’s broken when it comes to protective measures and more intensive training of their employees.
So far Air Canada has said that it is reminding its employees about the policies for transporting animals; so far it doesn’t sound like enough effort is being put into solving the problem.
This wasn’t the first time Air Canada has lost someone’s beloved pet; another woman came forward to say that her dog had been lost by airline employees as well and the dog’s body was found at the end of the runway where it had apparently been killed by an eagle. In compensation, the airline paid for the woman’s daughter’s accommodations, flew in a family member to help look for the dog and eventually paid for Niyah’s cremation and delivery of its remains to the family.