Pet owner Janet Sinclair was relocating from San Diego to Boston this past July and her cross-country move included her two pets, a Greyhound named Sedona and a cat named Alika. As a concerned pet owner, Sinclair did not hesitate to pay the extra cost United Airlines required for its “PetSafe” program. This program offered Sinclair’s pets personal handling in a climate controlled vehicle, a safety stop in Houston, and the promise the animals would never be exposed to temperatures greater than 85 degrees for more than 45 minutes. However, these paid for features and promises never happened. Sedona and Alika almost died in transport.
Sinclair’s flight was delayed for more than three hours and as she sat on the airplane she witnessed how her pets sat on the tarmac in 94-degree heat. Not only were her pets exposed to the heat, a United Airlines employee kicked Sedona’s crate at least six times in an attempt to shove it under the shade of the wing of the plane.
Sinclair recorded the events with her cell phone and you can see it in this video news report from NBC Bay Area.
When Sinclair landed in Boston she found her beloved pets closed to death.
“Sedona’s entire crate was filled with blood, feces, urine,” Sinclair said. “Sedona was in full heat stroke. All of the blankets were filled with blood. She was urinating and defecating blood. She was dying, literally, right in front of me.”
Alika was dehydrated and Sedona required immediate veterinarian care. Sedona spent three days in intensive care being treated for heat stroke. It cost Sinclair $2,715 to save her pets’ lives when United Airlines promised the animals would be safely transported.
When Sinclair filed a complaint with the airline, and requested she was reimbursed for the vet bill, United Airlines only agreed to reimburse her if she signed a non-disclosure agreement promising not to discuss the incident with the media. Sinclair declined.
Instead, the concerned pet owner created the Facebook page “United Airlines Almost Killed My Greyhound” to inform the public of the animal mistreatment she experience and hopefully to deter other pet owners from trusting the airline’s “PetSafe” program.
Alika and Sedona received a clean bill of health from a certified veterinarian prior to the travel incident, but despite this, United Airlines claims the near death status the pets were found in when the plane landed was due to pre-existing conditions.
“We are committed to ensuring safe and comfortable travel of all the pets that fly with us and regret that Sedona did not have a good experience,” said United Airlines in a written statement. “We offered to compensate Ms. Sinclair by fully reimbursing her vet bill, but unfortunately she declined to accept the terms of the agreement.”
Better safety regulations and humane treatment of animals when transported in commercial airlines must be established. Animals are family members and Sedona’s travel experience is not an isolated case. Our pets must stop getting injured, lost, sick or dying when at the care of airlines and its employees.
We demand justice. We demand better treatment of all animals, and specially we demand to get the promised services we pay for.