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A Sad Tail

The death of seven puppies this past August, 2010 on an American Airline flight from Tulsa to Chicago may have been caused by heat.

Immediately after the puppy deaths, 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.”

American Airlines conducted an animal autopsy on each puppy, called a necropsy, with inconclusive results. According to a spokeswoman for American Airlines, even though the autopsy results were inconclusive, the reports stated heat may have been a factor in the deaths.

A shipper put the puppies on Flight 851 scheduled to leave Tulsa, OK 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. The airline claims cargo temps typically are between 50 and 70 degrees.

Baggage handlers taking the puppies to a kennel area at O’Hare Airport grew concerned because the puppies looked lethargic. Employees tried to cool down the dogs, and they were taken to a vet’s office, but five died initially and two others died later.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends that pet owners not fly their pets in airline cargo holds.

Most airlines will allow one animal in the cabin per coach, business, or first class, but it has to fit under the seat in front of you and you can’t take the animal out during the flight.

Some suggestions to safeguard pets in flight when they are shipped in the cargo hold:

• Fly animals only on direct flights
• Put ice cubes in a plastic bag and, just before departure, put the cubes in a water dish to insure your pet can hydrate
• Insist that your pet be removed from the plane if the flight is delayed.
• Be certain you see your pet’s kennel cage loaded onto your flight, and if at all possible, use a professional pet transportation company, such as those found at Independent Pet Animal Transportation Association (IPATA).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is conducting a separate investigation of the American Airlines incident.

What’s the message here?  Transport your pet in the passenger cabin of the aircraft if you can. 

For more information about transporting pets by air click here:  http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_pets/ 

and…here:  http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=PETS&parentnav=TRAVEL_RECREATION&navtype=RT

Fresh Hand

I remember the time I was manhandled by a passenger while working an international flight. The plane was packed and every seat was taken. I was literally running up and down the aisle in coach serving beverages and other refreshments, and getting pillows and blankets. You know the drill. Well, maybe not nowadays. I was wearing my smock as usual during the service. It’s an apron made like a dress, sort of. I felt very warm from all the running around so I had taken off my slacks and was only wearing my top, bra and panties underneath. On one of my trips down the aisle I stopped for a moment to hand someone a beverage when suddenly I felt someone put their hand under my smock and travel with lightning speed all the way up my leg to my butt then back down and out. The pervert. It happened so fast I was flabbergasted! I immediately turned around to see who could’ve done such a brazen thing but everyone sitting on an aisle seat nearby -they were all men – looked preoccupied. The person who did the deed had to be sitting on an aisle seat. No one looked up at me when I swung around. No one was secretly smiling to himself. No one seemed smug. For the life of me, I could not figure out who had the nerve to put their hand under my clothes like that. I had a hunch who it might be, but that’s all. Something like that had never happened to me before and it hasn’t happened since. Needless to say, I put my slacks back on to finish working the flight. Not that the incident stopped me from removing my slacks again from under my smock on future flights. To this day, I’d still like to find out who did the deed. Has this or something like it ever happen to anyone else?