Baggage Handler: I Was Fired For Helping Sick Dog

Usually when you see a Consumerist headline that involves a baggage handler and a pet, it means the furry friend is lost or dead. But here’s one that’s more uplifting… except for the fact that the handler says she was fired for doing a good deed.

The handler had been working at Reno-Tahoe International Airport when it came time to load a hunting dog onto a plane bound for Texas. The pointer was described as being emaciated, bloody and covered with sores.

“The Transportation Safety Authority officers couldn’t even get the dog to stand up to be X-rayed,” she tells 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.”

Against the warning of her supervisor, who told her that they need not concern themselves about the canine’s condition as its paperwork was in order, the handler refused to stow the animal on the jet.

Washoe County Regional Animal Services were contacted and officers took custody of the dog so it could receive the proper care.

The handler, meanwhile, was given the heave-ho.

“(My supervisor) kept yelling, ‘That’s it, you’re done, you are out of here, go home,’” she says. “I left.”

She says that when she contacted the company, which is contracted by the airport, to discuss her dismissal, she was informed she had “abandoned” her position.

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

While the animal services people could not legally provide the Gazette-Journal with any comment on the dog or its condition, airport officials told the paper that it had been shipped back to Texas after being nursed back to health.

“In all my years here, this is the first time I’m thoroughly disgusted over what I understand to be the situation this animal was put in,” said Krys Bart, CEO of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, who also is on the board of the Nevada Humane Society. “… I’m proud of (airport police) officers. They had an affirmative responsibility to deal with this, and that’s what they did.”

The handler said she loved her job, and that she “wouldn’t have risked it for anything… But 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.”

Nevada air cargo worker loses job after reporting animal abuse [Reno Gazette-Journal]

Thanks to Rose for the tip!