A devastated dog owner says her dog was happy and healthy before boarding a United Airlines flight from Detroit to Portland and she’s blaming the airline for his death.
When Kathleen Considine moved from Michigan to Oregon, she to get settled into her new home before bringing Jacob, her 80-pound, 7-year old Golden retreiver to join her. So, her family used United Airlines’ PetSafe program to fly Jacob to be with Considine, who eagerly awaited his arrival.
But by the time Jacob landed in Portland – over 24 hours after boarding the plane in Detroit – Considine says something was wrong.
She explained, “Jacob was supposed to fly from Detroit to Portland with a 1 hour layover in Chicago. At 80 pounds, Jacob needed a giant crate for his journey and there was question as to whether or not it would fit on the plane. The airline agent in Detroit confirmed Jacob would fit on his first and second flight, no question.
Jacob went for a MANDATORY physical less than 24 hours before his flight, where he was cleared for airline travel with no previous health concerns.
When Jacob landed in Chicago, it was found that the airline agent LIED and he did not fit on the plane to Portland. He was then sent to a kennel over night, 20 HOURS, until the next flight out he could fit on.
The airline DID NOT ALLOW my mother to send food with Jacob, due to the intended short duration of his journey, even though it is mandated that the crates have a food bowl and their website states they may have a zip lock bag less than 1 pound of food attached to the top of their crate.
When Jacob finally arrived in Portland, he was disoriented and non-responsive. The United agent said the airline may have given him medication, but he didn’t know. The airline DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to give medication, especially without telling us what, when, or why.”
United public relations manager Charlie Hobart confirmed to Fox6 that airline staff in Chicago were unable to accommodate the dog on the second leg of the flight because his original crate size had been marked as a much smaller series.
United Airlines said they told Considine that Jacob would be sent to stay at a kennel until they could find room for him on another plane. The dog spent 20-hours at the Chicago PetSafe facility before he was put onto his final flight to Portland. United Airlines maintains that the dog received food, water and plenty of bathroom breaks while kenneled in Chicago.
When Considine finally picked Jacob up from the airport, she could immediately tell something was wrong. “My very best friend who I was expecting to trample me with kisses barely even acknowledged my existence.”
Over the next three hours, Jacob’s condition worsened, his breathing became scarce, so Considine rushed him to an emergency veterinarian who performed CPR for 8 minutes before pronouncing him dead. It was determined that Jacob died due to Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, or “stomach flip” likely brought on by stress.
Desperate for answers and getting nowhere with United Airlines, Considine took to Facebook to spread the word.
“United Airlines “PetSafe” program is cruel. They treat animals like baggage. They did not care if Jacob had food or water or any time out of his cage. They are incredibly rude and have shown no sympathy for my dog’s death. I would have received the same responses if they were to have broken my guitar in baggage.
I am asking everyone to PLEASE SHARE and get the word out about this terrible, negligent company. My heart is broken and I never want this to happen to another dog parent.”
Since 2005, 70 animals have died during or immediately following a flight on United Airlines. Large dogs, brachycephalic (short-faced) dogs, and dogs with potential health issues should consider alternative methods to reach their destination if they cannot ride in the cabin of an airplane.