Skift Take

Although deaths of animals in transit are a sad fact of transport, lack of professionalism and decency doesn't have to be and is an unintended consequence of United subcontracting animals' care to a third party.

Maggie Rizer’s dog died on a flight and she blames the airline for it.

Rizer’s golden retriever, Beatrice, passed away in the hold on a United Airlines flight from New York to San Francisco two weeks ago. The supermodel, 34, who had been holidaying with her husband and son, vented on her blog yesterday, blaming the “negligence of United Airlines” for Beatrice’s death.

“Beatrice had a perfect health record,” she writes of the two-year-old pooch, who was a wedding present. She added that she had bought special kennels and provisions for “Sweet-Bea” and her other dog, Albert, for the journey.

Rizer was told that the dog had died and taken to a local vet for an autopsy upon arrival – which was apparently a big bag of lies. “We…insisted she be returned to us for our own autopsy by our trusted veterinarian…Over the next two hours, the supervisor’s lie unravelled as it became clear that Bea was right behind a closed door the whole time and he had been discussing how to handle the potential liability with his boss who had left and sticking to the divert and stall tactic that they had been taught.”

Rizer writes that the autopsy performed by her vet revealed that Bea had died of heatstroke, but she couldn’t determine “exactly what happened” on the flight.

In a statement to E!, United Airlines apologised, but stood firm that it found “no mechanical or operational issues with Bea’s flight” and that “she was in a temperature-controlled environment for her entire journey.”

It will refund the $1,800 Rizer paid to transport the pets and also cover the cost of the autopsy.


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Tags: pets, united airlines

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