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Beautiful model and animal lover, Maggie Rizer, is mourning the death of her beloved Golden Retriever, Beatrice, after a flight on United Airlines resulted in the death of 2-year old “Bea.”
Beatrice was a wedding gift to Rizer and her husband, Alex Mehran, and quickly melted the couples’ hearts with her wonderful nature, gorgeous golden smile, and quirky personality. The addition of Bea into the Rizer family ultimately inspired the model to start a blog called Bea Makes Three.
Rizer, her husband, their 10-month old son, Zander, and their two Golden Retrievers – 2 year old Beatrice and 7 year old Albert – had just spent a summer vacation on the east coast and were returning home to San Francisco when tragedy struck.
In her blog, Maggie Rizer described the heartwrenching series of events to readers, in hopes that other dog parents will reconsider using commercial airlines to transport their pets.
Beatrice had a perfect health record. She received a full examination and a health certificate four days before the flight, as is required by the Pet Safe program. This program is United’s branded on-board pet safety program. In addition to Pet Safe’s stringent requirements, we took every extra precaution we could think of. Both the dog’s kennels were labeled front to back with emergency numbers, flight information and warnings. Their kennels were purchased specifically for the measurements and design specified by Pet Safe. We purchased special water bowls which we filled with ice to ensure that the water wouldn’t spill and that it would last longer. We drove the six hours to New York City from our house in Northern New York State, so the dogs wouldn’t have to make a connecting flight. We paid United Airlines $1800.00, in addition to our plane tickets, to ensure the safety of our pets. Albert and Bea were very prepared travelers.
When the family landed, they were met with an uninterested and unsympathetic airline employee who gave them the news. It took over two hours of pleading with an airline supervisor for Bea’s lifeless body to be returned to her family. Necropsy by the family’s veterinarian confirmed that the death was due to heatstroke.
Rizer believes that United Airline’s negligence and lies ultimately resulted in the death of her furry family member, saying in her blog:
They had nothing to say about the fact that the plane had been turned off (for at least fifteen minutes each time) twice before take-off in Newark, nor did they have anything to say when I requested information about her placement in the plane or about baggage being packed around her. United Airlines additionally called our veterinarian and fabricated a story about having an email from me, authorizing them to obtain the necropsy results. This, after I specifically told them that we would release the results to them at our discretion.
Rizer begs other pet owners to not place their dogs in the care of any commercial airline and will continue to mourn the loss of her “Sweet Bea” for the rest of her life.