August 5, 2010
HSUS Statement on Death of Puppies on American Airlines Flight
Update: Media reports have confirmed that the 14 puppies were being shipped from a commercial breeding facility for resale in pet stores in multiple states.
Michael Markarian, chief operating officer for The Humane Society of the United States, issued the following statement in reaction to the death of seven puppies flying in the cargo hold of an American Airlines flight from Tulsa, Okla. to Chicago, Ill.
"The death of seven puppies after they were removed from the cargo hold of an American Airlines jet is a tragedy that could have been avoided. If these puppies died because of the hot conditions in the cargo hold, then this would be a violation of the Animal Welfare Act and USDA should investigate. The suffering that these animals may have endured before they died is difficult to imagine. These defenseless puppies may have been trapped inside a sweltering cargo hold while the airliner waited for a storm to pass, which is a common occurrence in the summer. This incident should spur everyone to be reminded of the potential hazards of transporting pets on commercial airlines, even when traveling with their own animals. It should also open the eyes of consumers who are considering ordering puppies online and having that animal shipped to them by air, a common occurrence in the puppy mill industry. While the airline and the federal government have a responsibility here, consumers can reduce the likelihood that this will happen again by adopting a homeless animal from a local shelter or rescue group, or finding a responsible breeder in their community."
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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.