7 Puppies Die on American Airlines, Humane Society Makes Plea

7 Puppies Die on American Airlines, Humane Society Makes Plea


The Animal Legal Defense Fund said Thursday it has sent a letter to the federal government urging a “full investigation” into Tuesday’s death of seven puppies being transported by American Airlines.

The Humane Society of the United States made a similar plea this week.

An American Airlines spokeswoman said American would of course cooperate with any government agency that investigated the puppy deaths,

The carrier is awaiting necropsy results on the dead animals.

Below is the ALDF’s letter.

August 5, 2010
Cindy Smith
APHIS Administrator
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250

J. Randolph Babbitt
FAA Administrator
Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20591

Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250

Ray LaHood
Secretary of Transportation
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Dear Administrator Smith et al.:

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) strongly urges Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to immediately investigate the death of seven puppies after being transported in the cargo hold of American Airlines Flight 851 from Tulsa to Chicago on Tuesday, August 3, 2010.

According to recent media reports, fourteen puppies were loaded onto the cargo hold of an American Airlines plane in Tulsa that was scheduled for departure at 6:30 a.m. The plane was delayed for approximately an hour, during which time the temperature rose to at least 86 degrees. The expected high in Tulsa on Tuesday was over 100 degrees. The puppies apparently survived the flight, but were lethargic upon landing in Chicago. They were then taken to a veterinarian’s office, where seven of the puppies died.

APHIS has the authority to investigate this incident as a potential violation of the Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 2131 et seq, and the regulations promulgated pursuant to the Act, found at 9 C.F.R. § 2.100 (requiring intermediate handlers to comply with the transportation standards for animals) and 9 C.F.R. §§ 3.13-3.19 (detailing the transportation standards for animals).

This incident bears a striking similarity to In re Delta Airlines Inc., 53 Agric. Dec. 1076 (1994), where thirty-two puppies died after being transported in the cargo hold of a Delta Boeing 737 from St. Louis, Mo. to Salt Lake City, Utah. Another fifty-two animals that survived experienced symptoms of oxygen deprivation and stress. Id. Like the American Airlines flight, the Delta flight was delayed in St. Louis prior to departure. Id. The USDA concluded that Delta failed to provide the animals “humane transportation” as required under the Animal Welfare Act. Id. The cargo hold lacked an adequate air supply, which led to stress, oxygen deprivation, and ultimately death for thirty-two animals. Id. The USDA issued a cease and desist order for the violations along with a civil penalty of $140,000. Id.

The death of seven puppies after travelling on American Airlines Flight 851 warrants a full investigation by APHIS. The Animal Legal Defense Fund will gladly assist with the investigation by providing legal research and any other resources that we can make available to you.

To prevent future animal deaths, ALDF urges effective enforcement of existing laws and regulations designed to protect animals from inhumane transport. ALDF also urges the Federal Aviation Administration to extend its regulations at 14 C.F.R. § 234.13 to cover all animals and ensure that employees are properly trained to handle animals in air transport.


Carter Dillard
Director of Litigation
Animal Legal Defense Fund
170 East Cotati Avenue
Cotati, CA 94931

Source: Aviationblog