United Airlines Passenger Says Dog Died After Flight From Detroit To Oregon

Image courtesy of Bernal Saborio G. (berkuspic)

Three years ago, United Airlines felt the internet’s wrath when a photo surfaced showing a caged dog the carrier had allegedly left out in the rain on an airport tarmac. Now, the airline is once again facing claims it harmed an animal, after a woman accused the airline for being responsible for the death of her dog.

WXYZ-TV reports that the woman blames United Airlines for the death of her Golden Retriever, named Jacob, after a stressful, unexpectedly long flight from Detroit to Portland, OR, where she had recently relocated.

According to the woman, who shared her story in a Facebook post, she followed all of United’s protocols when preparing Jacob for his flight to their new home in Oregon.

She took Jacob to the veterinarian before the trip for a mandatory physical and checked to ensure his crate would fit on the planes — one from Detroit to Chicago and another from Chicago to Portland.

Things went well during the first flight. But when Jacob arrived in Chicago for his one-hour layover, airline employees called the woman notifying her that he would not fit on the second plane.

“He was then sent to a kennel over night, 20 hours, until the next flight out he could fit on,” the woman wrote on Facebook, noting that the airline didn’t allow Jacob to fly with food, despite the fact that United’s PetSafe checklist [PDF] says kennels are supposed to have food and water bowls, and may have up to a pound of dry food attached to the crate.

When the woman’s boyfriend arrived at the airport to pick up Jacob the following day, he noticed the dog seemed disoriented and non-responsive.

“The United agent said the airline may have given him medication, but he didn’t know,” the woman wrote, noting that the airline had no right to give the animal medication without her permission.

“There was clearly something wrong when he landed in Portland,” she says. “He was not the same dog he was when he was in Detroit.”

After arriving home, the woman contacted a veterinarian who told her to keep an eye on the dog. But several hours later, Jacob hadn’t improved and the couple took him to an emergency vet.

By this time, Jacob’s breathing had become scarce, and he needed CPR. After about eight minutes, the woman says he was pronounced dead.

The woman says a vet determined that Jacob’s stomach likely flipped — known as Gastric Dilatation Volvulus — due to the stress of this journey, and suffocated his organs.

In her Facebook post, the woman says that United has not taken responsibility for the situation.

“Jacob was a happy, healthy seven-year-old Golden Retriever who loved me and every single being he met unconditionally,” she notes.

A rep for United tells WXYZ that the airline is not responsible for Jacob’s death and that the dog did not show any signs of being ill while being transported.