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Refusal to Load Ailing Dog On Plane
The result was being fired
Protecting the vulnerable.

Baggage handler Lynn Jones was so concerned about the physical state of the dog in the crate that she refused to load it on the plane. Its emaciated body had multiple sores, its feet were in bad shape, and the dog seemed listless. Jones fear that it would not survive the flight from Nevada to Texas was so great she defied the order from her supervisor to load the dog on the plane. She was fired because of the actions she took to protect the dog.

Airport police eventually phoned a local animal welfare agency, which took the dog temporarily. The dog was helped to recover to good health and then returned to the owner in Texas, who hunts with the dog and regularly flies it to hunting locales. (Jones is very upset that the dog was returned to someone who let it suffer.)

In the month since she lost her job, she has been praised by her former employer, Airport Terminal Services, Inc. The company “commends this employee’s situational awareness and her desire to raise the concern on behalf of the canine.” They haven’t offered Jones her job back, and even if they did, Jones says she doesn’t know if she would return to work for them.

So many sad issues are involved in this situation—possible animal abuse, airlines looking the other way when it comes to animals’ well-being, vulnerability of animals more generally, and being fired in tough economic times. I’d like to focus on the positive, though. There are people out there like Lynn Jones who care enough about animals to stand up for them when they have no power to do it themselves.

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral problems, including aggression. She is the author of five books on canine training and behavior.

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