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Topic: IcelandAir Large Dog in hold HORROR STORY  (Read 1529 times)

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IcelandAir Large Dog in hold HORROR STORY
« on: May 30, 2018, 06:09:48 PM »
So we arrived in Paris a couple days ago and made it up here to London.

Wanted to write this up to let everyone know:

The first problem started in Portland, OR when they were loading my dog's crate into the hold. The ramp was very steep, and they put him on a moving belt without securing the crate or having anyone holding it or even nearby to catch it... once his crate was almost at the top, they tossed some cables on the belt to tie him down in the hold right in front of the front gate on his crate, which startled him, and he jumped to the back of the crate. this made the whole thing tip backwards and started rolling down the ramp, landing upside down.  they continued loading him up the ramp upside down, then flipped the crate over again in the hold so it was upright.

I ran to the desk and demanded someone go check on him right away, ensure he was not injured and give him more water, then alert me of his condition.  all i got from them was a "they say he's fine".  spent the whole flight in a panic, trying to get ahold of the airline's customer service to ensure they were aware of what happened and they were taking steps to ensure it didn't happen again during unloading or our next flight. very little in the way of response from them.  same at the airport in iceland. everyone knew about the incident, but all they would say is "he's fine".

So when we finally land in Paris, I waited over an hour at luggage for them to bring him out.  One of the zip ties on the gate was broken, but i quickly cut off the other three. Right away, i knew he hadn't been fed, cause the bag of food taped to the crate was still full. his urine pad and blanket were smashed against the front door, had been since his rollover, so he had done the whole trip on a hard slick surface, with nothing to collect his urine, which was all over him.  When he got out, he was clearly very dehydrated. I expected him to be a bit shaky from being in a crate so long, but he was completely out of sorts.  he's normally afraid of people, and didn't even notice there WERE people around. stumbled a bit, then drank nearly a gallon of water in minutes. spent a good hour panting like crazy.

Been trying to file a claim with the airline, but they haven't responded.
I tried to keep calm during the ordeal, but now, I'm just protective mommy wanting justice for my baby.  Told them at the VERY LEAST i want the pet fee refunded and i want them to cover a vet check up for any internal injuries or other issues as a result of their mishandling.  But I honestly believe we are owed much more than that.

So, lesson learned. He seems ok, but man that was so unacceptable.

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Re: IcelandAir Large Dog in hold HORROR STORY
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2018, 06:17:20 PM »
Oh Meg, that's  just awful. I'd almost be more concerned about the dehydration and overheating than the fall down the belt, although of course, all are completely unacceptable.
Stick in there with your complaint. Don't let them brush you off. And hopefully this thread will come up frequently in web searches, the title is excellent!

How is he doing now?

Re: IcelandAir Large Dog in hold HORROR STORY
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2018, 06:24:34 PM »
health wise he still seems fine.  obviously internal issues can take a few days to manifest into problems, but so far, so good.

the issue now is getting him social.  he is a rescue from a high kill shelter with abusive "caretakers" (inmates at the connected prison), so he is afraid of people.  i knew this was gonna be an issue, and i'm ok with putting in the work to get him less threatening looking (he's huge and has a mean bark, but is really just super scared).  i mean, he's my baby, and he's trained to alert me of my panic attacks, and stand on my chest to prevent me hyperventilating during them. i prefer that to medications. so some socialization work isn't a bother to me.

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Re: IcelandAir Large Dog in hold HORROR STORY
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2018, 06:54:04 PM »
I hope he’s okay too.

The only money I splurged in my move was on my cats.  Their care was my #1 priority.  Thankfully they were treated like royalty all the way here.   :D

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Re: IcelandAir Large Dog in hold HORROR STORY
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2018, 09:28:31 PM »
Have you posted this story all over other social media, especially Twitter? Maybe even with some pictures of your dog looking especially miserable? Seems like that kind of thing would the kind of PR they would like to avoid. 

I also think it's good that you have a definite list of what you expect to make it right.  Paying for veterinary exam sounds perfectly reasonable.

Why not skip the entire complaints process and just sue them in small claims court?  It's easy to do and will certainly get their attention.  Maybe get a solicitor to draft a letter first, and if they don't start paying then send a letter before action with a detailed list of what you will be suing them for.  Put that on Twitter as well.

Re: IcelandAir Large Dog in hold HORROR STORY
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2018, 07:53:31 PM »
So after a social media blast, I finally received this response:

Your matter has been brought to my attention by our Social media team.
First of all we are truly sorry to hear that your dogs crate flipped on the conveyor belt and we would like to offer our sincere apologize for inconvenience and stress caused to you and your dog.

We did reach out to our station manager at Portland airport for a report on incident. According to ground staff report the dog went all the way to the back of crate causing it to roll backward, unfortunately as it happened so quickly our agents were unable to get their hands on it and we deeply regret that.

You mention in your recent post that your dog arrived dehydrated, we are truly sorry to hear that. As per security regulations and safety reasons airport employees are not allowed to open the kennel at any given time while in transit.

We do hope that your dog has recovered from the flights. Having said that we would of course like to meet you in some way due to the inconvenience you have been through and refund 50% of your airfare from Portland to Paris .

I look forward hearing from you.

Best regards,

This was my response to them:

First off, I thank you for your offer, and we will accept so we can get the dog looked at by a vet, and seek out a trainer to help him mentally recover, as he has been on edge since the flight.

That said, I am a bit disappointed in the apology, which to me read as this was an “unavoidable accident”, and somewhat clearing you of responsibility.  This is not the case, and as an animal lover I feel the need to address this to ensure no other beloved pet faces these issues.

First off, I watched what happened when my dog was loaded and the report you received was not the full truth.  An animal traveling via cargo in a crate is going to be scared. They have the ability to move in the crate, which means weight can be shifted. There should be some form of safety measures when loading an animal on a steep ramp to ensure a weight shift does not cause the crate to topple, for instance a handler holding the crate steady.  This was not addressed. Second, when the ground crew reported “the dog moved to the back of the crate” what they failed to mention was “because we threw something at it”. When the crate neared the top of the ramp, a man on the ground tossed some straps onto the ramp right at the front gate of the crate. This startled an already frightened dog, and he reacted by moving away from the object that was thrown at him, causing the crate to tip. It should be clear that this is unacceptable, and the reaction of the dog is a pretty obvious result. Had these two aspects been addressed in training, this incident would have been avoided.

As a result of the crate rolling over, the padding and urine pad at the base was smashed against the wall, making my dog’s travels uncomfortable, and messy when he needed to urinate and it ended up all over him. I will concede that once this happened there was no way of fixing it. So not unavoidable, but not correctable.

As for food and water: federal regulations require pet owners to attach water and food bowls to the front gate of the crate. For long flights the owner must attach a bag of food to the crate. When the dog is checked in there must be water in the bowl.  These regulations are required of the owner, and I have to assume similar regulations exist for the airlines regarding ensuring the animal has water in the bowl and is fed using the food provided by the owner.  When I checked my dog in, I had met all regulations.  When his crate was flipped, the water spilled out. That would have been the first instance where you were required to refill his water bowl (which is easily done by pouring water through the gate into the bowl). The food and water should have both been provided during the layover in Iceland. And because it took over an hour between landing and getting my dog to baggage claim, the water should have again been checked.  This is basic necessity for all living things. It is absolutely your responsibility to provide these things, which have been regulated by law in such a manner that opening the crate is not needed to provide food and water to the animal. So for my dog to arrive unfed and dehydrated is absolutely your fault with no excuses available to you for not doing this.

In addition to our partial refund, I wish for these issues to be addressed and for a full report on the steps you will be taking; a proper apology taking full responsibility and not blaming the dog or other factors for the mistakes made by ground crew staff; and a genuine pledge to treat the beloved pets of your other passengers with more dignity and care than my dog received.  I don’t think that is asking too much.  If you are unwilling to provide this, I will need to seek further actions.

Megan Steward

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