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Tag: flights

United’s new policy limits air travel for dogs who are short-snouted or “strong-jawed”

united-airlinesleashes1

United Airlines plans to resume shipping pets as cargo in July but will do so under a new, more cautious policy that will exclude short-snouted breeds from traveling in their cargo holds.

The new policy will prohibit 25 breeds from traveling as cargo including boxers, bulldogs and pugs.

The airline announced the changes Tuesday, and said its rules and guidelines will continue to be revised under recommendations from American Humane, the animal welfare agency it is working with to improve pet travel.

The changes announced Tuesday do not affect small pets traveling in carriers that fit under seats in the cabin.

United called a temporary halt to shipping pets in March after several dogs were put on wrong flights. A French bulldog died after a flight attendant told its owner to put its carrier in an overhead bin. In 2017, 18 animals died on United, three-fourths of all such deaths on U.S. airlines.

The new policy also bans transporting what the airline referred to as “strong-jawed” breeds, such as pit bulls and mastiffs.

“Transporting pets introduces a variety of risks, and when United approached us we knew we had to take on the challenge of helping improve and ensure the health, safety and comfort of so many animals,” said Robin Ganzert, president and chief executive of American Humane.

United also said it would stop transporting animals between May 1 and Sept. 30 for travel to and from Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Phoenix and Tuscon because of the extreme summer heat in those cities.

The airline is also limiting the number of connections a pet can be routed through on a trip.

None of the policy changes affect small dogs traveling with their owners in the cabin. The restrictions on short-snouted breeds won’t apply to dogs traveling in the cabin.

The new policy doesn’t address service animals and emotional support animals, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The airline said their increase in banned breeds — from six to 25 (the full list is below) — stems primarily from concerns about the health problems that pets with short or snub noses are more likely to have while traveling in cargo holds.

Other airlines also place restrictions on pet travel. Delta, for example, does not accept snub-nosed or pug-nosed pets as checked baggage under any circumstances.

United temporarily halted transporting pets after the death of a 10-month-old French bulldog on March 12 on a flight from Houston to New York. A flight attendant, worried that the dog’s carrier did not fit under the seat, instructed the owners to put the carrier in the overhead compartment, where the dog died during a flight of more than three hours.

United took more heat on its pet transport program the following day, when the airline accidentally shipped a dog to Japan instead of Kansas City, Mo. The animal was eventually reunited with its owner. A third dog was incorrectly placed on a flight to St. Louis, which prompted the airline to divert the flight to Akron, Ohio, the dog’s intended destination.

Here is the full list of the breeds United will ban from traveling as cargo, according to the airline’s website:

Affenpinscher
American Bully
American Pit Bull Terrier/Pit Bull
American Staffordshire Terrier/”Amstaff”
Belgian Malinois
Boston Terrier
Boxer
Brussels Griffon
Bulldog
American Bulldog
English Bulldog
French Bulldog
Old English Bulldogges
Shorty Bulldogs
Spanish Alano/Spanish Bulldog/Alano Espanol
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Chow Chow
English Toy Spaniel/Prince Charles Spaniel
Japanese Chin/Japanese Spaniel
Lhasa Apso
Mastiff
American Mastiff
Boerboel/South African Mastiff
Bullmastiff
Ca de Bou/Mallorquin Mastiff
Cane Corso/Italian Mastiff
Dogo Argentino/Argentinian Mastiff
Dogue de Bordeaux/French Mastiff
English Mastiff
Fila Brasileiro/Brazilian Mastiff/Cao de Fila
Indian Mastiff/Alangu
Kangal/Turkish Kangal
Neapolitan Mastiff/Mastino Napoletano
Pakastani Mastiff/Bully Kutta
Pyrenean Mastiff
Presa Canario/Perro de Presa Canario/Dogo Canario/Canary Mastiff
Spanish Mastiff / Mastin Espanol
Tibetan Mastiff
Tosa/Tosa Ken/Tosa Inu/Japanese Mastiff/Japanese Tosa
Pekingese
Pug
Dutch Pug
Japanese Pug
Shar-Pei/Chinese Shar-Pei
Shih-Tzu
Staffordshire Bull Terrier/”Staffys”
Tibetan Spaniel

Dog on runway is shot and killed at airport in Canada

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Rather than put an arriving flight at risk, a Canadian airport wildlife control officer shot and killed a dog who had escaped her crate and was lingering on the runway.

The Winnipeg Airports Authority says it is looking over its wildlife policy after the incident last week, which caused one flight to abort its landing.

The dog, named Greta, was en route to a Winnipeg foster home from a northern Manitoba community, flown by Perimeter Aviation and under the care of the Manitoba Mutts.

The dog rescue has been transporting dogs to Winnipeg with Perimeter Aviation for about seven years, said Rebecca Norman, one of the rescue directors, but this was the first time one got loose on the tarmac.

Greta apparently chewed her way through the plastic crate she was held in, according to CBC.

“It was a tough day for everyone,” said Tyler MacAfee, the authority’s director of corporate communications, on Wednesday. “It’s certainly not the outcome anyone wants to see, and it’s a really tough decision for someone to make to use force in that way on an animal … But at the same time it’s that balance of aviation safety.”

With flights landing every few minutes at that time of day, the wildlife control officer made the decision to use lethal force.

“Quite clearly, we didn’t want her to be hit by a plane. That would have been more painful than the way she passed away,” Norman said. “And we also didn’t want … the planes to crash or people to get hurt,” MacAfee said.

Carlos Castillo, vice-president of commercial services for Perimeter Aviation, said it appears the dog chewed through a plastic portion of the kennel during transportation and broke loose as staff opened the plane door.

Workers tried to contain Greta but the dog broke free, Castillo said.

The airport’s wildlife control staff tried to corral the animal into a safe, open area, as is usually done in these cases, MacAfee said, but it evaded attempts and ran across the airfield, near an active runway.

One flight, an inbound plane from Las Vegas, had to abort its landing to avoid the dog, MacAfee said. The wildlife officer managed to get the animal away from the runway but it turned around and returned to the area.

(Photo of Greta, Manitoba Mutts)

Bomb detecting dog in training shot and killed at New Zealand airport

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A dog being trained to detect bombs at New Zealand’s Auckland Airport was shot by police — under orders from the airport — after he ran off from his handlers and caused flights to be delayed.

Airport officials said handlers, security staff and police officers spent three hours trying to capture the dog.

But, after 16 flights had to be delayed, they gave police the go ahead to shoot the 10-month-old border collie and German shorthaired pointer mix. They insisted it was a last resort.

The shooting was condemned by animal rights activists and others.

The dog, named Grizz, was training to be an Aviation Security explosion detector and was six months away from graduation, CNN reported.

After handlers tried unsuccessfully to recapture him, and to coax him off the runway, airport staff told police to shoot him.

Then they got on Twitter and reported he had been recaptured.

Not until an hour later did they reveal the dog had been killed.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Grizz was not on the tarmac but on the outer perimeter of the airfield when he was shot.

SAFE for Animals Ambassador Hans Kriek condemned the killing, asking why the animal wasn’t tranquilized, but a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said he “didn’t believe” that had been an option.

Grizz escaped from his handler at around 4.30 a.m. Friday (local time) and ran out onto the tarmac at Auckland Airport, according to the CAA spokesman.

“He was on an initial airport environment socialization program as part of his training … The airport Emergency Operations Center was activated and a full search was commenced,” he said in a statement.

But the spokesman said it was too dark and the area too large to quickly find and contain the puppy.

“We tried everything, food, toys, other dogs, but nothing would work … In these difficult circumstances the Airport’s Emergency Operations Center team decided to have the dog destroyed,” he said

Animal activist Kriek said other alternatives should have been explored.

“Ultimately they have to call the police in to shoot the dog, and the police have access to tranquilizer guns, and there’s also a zoo nearby that would have one as well. So we don’t understand why they didn’t do that,” he said.

An airport spokesman said the question of a tranquilizer gun, and the entire incident, would be reviewed.

Returning from an exotic locale? Chances are you can bring someone home with you

wapo2We don’t expect Donald Trump to like this (so don’t anyone let him know) but if you’re returning from a trip to some exotic locale — Mexico, Thailand, South Korea, India, Turkey, Colombia, and the Carribean to name a few — you can bring someone back with you to live in the good old USA forever.

And you don’t even have to marry them — or even ever see them again.

Yes, we’re talking about dogs. (Aren’t we almost always?)

But we’re also talking about an easy-lifting way to accomplish a good deed and play a small role in making a dog and a family happy.

Our country’s incoming new leadership may no longer wants those tired, poor and hungry humans we once welcomed from other countries, but the door is still pretty open for dogs (my dog included) that have been saved from horrific conditions in other countries.

Many of them have gotten here thanks to Americans returning from vacations, who are willing to take a little extra time to serve as their official escorts.

How it all works was documented recently by The Washington Post, in a story by Andrea Sachs, who not only talked to people who have done it, but did it herself.

Sachs recently returned from a trip to Colombia with a dog named Max.

“To unknowing eyes, I was just a typical traveler with a strong pet attachment. But in truth I was a flight volunteer for Cartagena Paws, an animal-rescue center that, among myriad services, places Colombian street dogs with adoptive families in North America. My ultimate responsibility was to escort the 8-month-old puppy with the overactive tail to the District. I was headed north anyway, and, well, Max needed a lift.”

There are animal welfare groups around the world rescuing dogs who face bleak lives, or worse, and then finding themselves hard-pressed to find them homes.

One solution they’ve turned to is exporting rescued dogs to the U.S.

Often, though, they need a little help getting them from there to here.

“We use flight volunteers who are met at the airport by the adoptive parents,” said Lisa Anne Ramirez, executive director of the Humane Society of Cozumel Island in Mexico. Those meetings, she says are “usually very emotional and tearful.”

While most airlines will ship a dog traveling solo in their cargo holds, that’s the most expensive and least desirable method.

Dogs are generally permitted to travel as checked baggage, or as carry-ons in the cabin, but in those cases they must be traveling with someone.

The rescue organizations handle the paperwork, so, for the escort, it’s often just a matter of handing those papers over at customs.

Sasithorn “Sas” Moy of Harlem said little inconvenience was involved after she agreed to escort five dogs from Thailand to the U.S. when returning from a trip to visit family.

She contacted the Phuket-based Soi Dog Foundation, which sends at least 25 dogs to North America a month.

“I just showed up at the airport and they gave me the paperwork,” she explained after a nearly 20-hour flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. “I said goodbye to the dogs at the X-ray machine. It was painless… There was extra time on the front end and the back end, but it was worthwhile.”

wapo1Sachs advises in the article that travelers wishing to serve as flight volunteers contact the rescue center as soon as they secure their flights.

“I messaged Cartagena Paws two weeks before my departure and received a reply peppered with exclamation points: We would love to have some help! Yes please!”

She and Max flew from Cartagena to Atlanta to Washington — he making the trip next to her in a carrier in the cabin. In Washington, he was picked up for a trip to his new home in Texas.

Sachs also put together a list of international rescues seeking escorts for dogs coming into the United States. You can find more details and contact information at that link.

(Photos: Max arrives in Washington from Cartagena, Columbia, and waits to make the trip to his forever home in San Antonio; volunteers at Cartagena Paws say goodbye to Max at the airport in Cartagena; by Andrea Sachs /The Washington Post)

Short snouts and long flights don’t mix

Short-snouted dogs appear to run a far higher risk of death when it comes to air travel, according to federal government statistics released last week.

Bulldogs, pugs, and other short-of-snout breeds accounted for about half of the purebred dog deaths on airplanes in the past five years, the data shows.

Overall, 122 dog deaths — 108 of them purebreds — were reported between May 2005, when U.S. airlines were required to start disclosing them, and May 2010, the Transportation Department says.

All the dogs died while being shipped as cargo, as opposed to flying in the cabin.

English bulldogs accounted for the highest number, with 25 deaths. Second highest were pugs, 11 of which died. Seven golden retrievers, six French bulldogs and four American Staffordshire terriers died while flying as cargo in that period. And boxers, cockapoos, Pekingese and Pomeranians accounted for two deaths each.

You can see the full list here.

The Department of Transportation says dog owners should consult with veterinarians before putting their dogs on planes. It believes that the deaths represent a tiny percentage of the pets shipped on airlines.

Short-nose breeds — known as “brachycephalic” — in addition to being less tolerant of heat, have a skull formation that affects their airways, Dan Bandy, chairman of the Bulldog Club of America’s health committee, told the Associated Press.

“The way all dogs cool themselves is basically through respiration, either just panting or the action of breathing in or out, is a method of heat exchange for them,” Bandy said. “A dog that has a long snout or a long muzzle has more surface area within its nasal cavity for that heat exchange to take place. So breeds like labradors or collies or those types of dogs with the long muzzles have a more efficient cooling system.”

Bandy said that in addition to trying to cool themselves, dogs may also pant excessively in the cargo hold because of stress or excitement. But he believes dogs shouldn’t be given tranquilizers before flying because that makes them less able to manage their own cooling process. In addition, airlines generally do not want pets tranquilized, he added.

In all, 144 pet deaths were reported by airlines over the past five years, along with 55 injuries and 33 lost pets.

Pet Airways adds service to Baltimore

 Pet Airways — the animal-only airline we told you about last month — has added Baltimore to the list of cities it will serve.

The flights, which will start in July, will travel to Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago and New York.

Pets will fly in kennel crates in the main cabin of the aircraft, watched over by a flight attendant, and tickets will start at $149 each way.

For a list of the airports served, click here.

(Photos: Petairways.com)

Coffee, tea or Milkbone?

A Florida company has announced plans to start the nation’s first pets-only airline, allowing dogs and cats to travel in the cabin of its commuter planes.

Pet Airways, of Delray Beach, said Thursday it will begin operating weekly flights July 14 between New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles.

The airline will use commuter planes operated by Suburban Airlines and the average fare will be about $250 each way, said Alysa Binder, founder and executive vice president.

There are tentative plans to expand to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport and other major cities by the end of the year, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The start-up of Pet Airways comes as major commercial airlines have increased their pet travel fees and tightened restrictions to discourage pets flying in cabins. Pets flying Pet Airways will not travel in the cargo hold.

“For us, it’s all about the safety and the comfort of the pets,” Binder said.

Pet Airways “pawsengers” – as Binder calls them – will fly in a 19-seat turbo-prop passenger plane, the Beech 1900. The seats will be removed and planes will be fully-lit and climate-controlled. The airline will have pet check-in lounges and a Web site where customers can book reservations and track their pet’s travel progress.