Written by PETA
© Anthony Aneese
Totah Jr | Dreamstime.com
The last time that John
and Julia Von Achen saw their beloved dog, J, alive, they were boarding a
flight from Moscow to New York. When the Von Achens
disembarked, they discovered that their dog had apparently frozen to death in the
cargo hold during the 11-hour flight.
"He's part of our
family. I'm heartbroken, devastated, destroyed," said John Von Achen Jr. "They
killed our dog."
Freezing aside (which can happen when temperature controls fail and external
temperature at altitude can be -50 or worse), animals are in grave danger in
plane cargo holds, but boxers, bulldogs, and pugs like J are at an especially high risk since their short muzzles
make breathing difficult under any even slightly stressful or abnormal circumstances.
Putting an animal in a cargo hold is often a death sentence, as they can turn into
freezers in the air and, during delays on scorching summer days, into ovens on
the ground, causing death from heat prostration. It happens all the time.
"It seems the
airlines are not equipped and they're not really set up to handle pets, but
they take the money anyway," Van Achen said, adding, "I'll never fly
with a pet again."
was far from the first dog
to perish in a cargo hold, and
he won't be the last. If you are planning to travel with your animals over the
Thanksgiving holiday or at any time, please keep their feet safely on the
ground and travel by car or, if they are small enough, fly them in the cabin
by Michelle Sherrow
Very scary new stats released by the U.S. Department of Transportation show that dogs with short muzzles (such as pugs, bulldogs, and boxers) make up about half of all dogs who have died in airplane cargo holds during the past five years. Veterinarians surmise that "respiratory issues" are to blame for these dogs' higher death rates. Many dogs and cats who have been purposely bred for pushed-in faces have difficulty breathing and exercising even under normal circumstances.
No dog, cat, or any living being should have to endure the terror and trauma of being wedged among the baggage in a loud, dark, strange place in which they experience the unfathomable sensation of being borne aloft, far from their guardians. In order to help prevent fires, most cargo compartments are unventilated, and when systems fail, as they sometimes do, temperatures inside can quickly reach extremes of cold when the plane is in the air and extremes of heat when it's on the tarmac. Let's promise never to treat our animal companions like luggage and always to drive them to our destination or leave them safe at home with a trusted caretaker if they can't fit under the cabin seat.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
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