Baggage Handler Fired After Reporting Animal Abuse

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A Nevada baggage handler says she was forced to choose between her morals and her paycheck – and that she was fired for choosing to do the right thing.

Lynn Jones was working as a baggage handler at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport when she says she was asked to load a dog into the cargo hold of a plane waiting to depart for Texas on November 15th. When she looked closely, she noticed that the dog was listless in its carrier, bleeding from its paws, emaciated and covered in sores. Horrified by what she saw, she refused to put the dog on the flight.

“The Transportation Safety Authority officers couldn’t even get the dog to stand up to be X-rayed,” said Jones in an interview with the Reno Gazette Journal. “Everyone who saw it, the TSA people, the Airport Police officers, the girls at the ticket counter, was concerned. The dog was so weak and torn up. It didn’t look like it could survive the flight.”

Despite her protests to the contrary, Jones said her supervisor told her the condition of the dog was not her concern because the owner had provided necessary documentation for the trip. She was also told that she risked termination if she did not get over it. “I was crying,” she said. “I kept saying that dog could not be put on a plane.”

Her dismay prompted airport officials to call Washoe County Regional Animal Services, who immediately took possession of the dog in order to have it treated by a local veterinarian. Jones said animal control officers echoed her sentiments about the condition of the weary canine. Shortly thereafter, Jones was summarily terminated.

“My supervisor kept yelling, ‘That’s it, you’re done, you are out of here, go home,'” Jones said. “I left.”

Jones was an employee of St. Louis based Airport Terminal Services. When contacted for comment they declined. Jones says she was told that she was fired for abandoning her position.

“I didn’t abandon anything; I was told to leave,” she said.

Airport officials said that after a series of treatments and a follow-up exam, the dog was flown to Texas. They also added that said they were sickened by its initial condition.

Jones said as much as the loss of employment stings, she would do the same thing again if forced to choose.  “I just couldn’t turn my back on that dog…my supervisor said it wasn’t my concern, but animal abuse is everyone’s concern who sees it.”
photo: Marilyn Newton/Reno Gazette Journal

30 thoughts on “Baggage Handler Fired After Reporting Animal Abuse”

  1. This woman did the right thing by choosing NOT to put a very sick animal on the plane where it would certainly have died and she got fired for it – this is outrageous – her boss that ordered her to put the animal in the cargo area ANYWAY should be fired – what an uncaring idiot. Nevada doesn’t need employees like that one – that boss is no better than the employees who just got fired for mistreating turkeys at an egg factory in Minnesota – Please – representatives of the state of Nevada where this happened – write and call your representatives to see that this woman is reinstated and this rotten boss that fired her – is fired in return. There is NO excuse for this firing and for the BOSS to order the dog be put on the plane – how many people knew of the boss’s demand that the sick people be put on the plane??? They should all be fired just like everyone who knew of the scandal in Penn State got fired. Rot starts at the top and goes down – this is a sickening case of POWER by that boss – do as I say or get fired.

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  2. She’s a hero. Maybe she could sue them, also why did the dog still go to TX ? It should not be with it’s original owner. The owner should also face charges. The only one who did the right thing here is this woman. I hope someone sees this and gives her a job. The holidays are not a good time to be unemployed.

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  3. Looks like it’s time for a trip to an attorney for a Wrongful Termination lawsuit against her employer. She clearly has legal standing in this case with co-workers and animal services to vouch for the condition of the animal. This type of employee treatment is deplorable and it just seems to get worse with many of the air service providers.

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    • Some states, Massachusetts included, do NOT need a reason to terminate employees. It is called an “at will” state. I still think she should sue, but depending on the laws in her state, it may be an uphill fight. Hopefully, the bad publicity and public outcry will be enough to get her gainfully employed by a company that truly cares.

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    • document every thing ,,people involved everything.I was marrid to a trial lawyer for yrs,,so see a lawyer,it’s going to be interesting to see who gets fired nexxt.

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  4. I’m worried about whether the dog is going into yet another bad situation since it was being sent to an address with no regard to the dog. I hope someone monitors this situation.

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  5. I am in animal rescue and this story just makes me sick to my stomach. I DID send them a VERY strongly-worded email and managed to keep profanity out of it which was very difficult! Also, the person/people transporting the sick dog need to be charged with animal cruelty. Lynn Jones did the right thing. If she lived near me I would give her a job in a heartbeat!

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  6. 314.739.1900 ask for Dick Dawes…it’s his company and he is probably hiding. Don’t let the operator send you to Peggy in Human Resources (as I recall, this supervisor lacked any sort of “human resources.”)

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