AP release, August 4, 2010

7 puppies found dead after flight on American Airlines jet

According to the Associated Press feed, a breeder put 14 puppies in individual small kennels on a flight from Tulsa OK to Chicago early Tuesday morning. Although American says it won't carry pets in the cargo hold if the forecast temperature is above 85 degrees F, it was 86 degrees F a half hour before the plane left Tulsa and the temperature was forecast to go above 100 degrees.

You can read the original news release here:


It is unfortunate that the local news station chose to put the report in their entertainment section.

What kind of breeder puts 14 puppies on a flight? Not many breeds have so many puppies and surely some of the buyers must have been local enough to pick up their pups.

Well, here we can apply Occam's Razor (go for the simplest explanation first): it was more than one litter, and I would guess there were more litters to come after those.

I know I am supposed to feel sorry for the breeder but, I'm sorry, I don't. No one should be shipping puppies, period. And certainly not in the high hot of the summer.

American would not say if they had problems before (of course), but the U.S. Department of Transportation mentioned that 122 dogs have died on U.S. flights in the last five years. They mentioned it in the second half of a sentence, a parenthetical phrase if you would, in a discussion about breeds who might be at risk. They slipped it in as smoothly as a roach slips into your shoe just before you put it on.

And then they went on to say that the deaths were an extremely small percentage of the total number of pets carried by airlines.

In other words, it was an acceptable number of losses.

If 122 small children had died during U.S. flights in the last five years, would that be acceptable?

If you ever are tempted by an ad for a cute puppy that states "shipping provided" or "we ship anywhere" or simply "we deliver!" (all real ad copy by the way), remember those 7 frightened puppies, each one alone in a small dark kennel, slowly dying in the loud, hot cargo of an airline jet.