The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently passed a new rule that will require more airlines to report incidents involving animals. Although all airlines must report when a pet is hurt, gets lost, or dies on a U.S. flight, the law only applies to animals kept in a family household.
Currently only 14 airlines are required to report incidents involving any animal, but as of January 1, 2015, that number will increase to 27 . The new legislation also covers animals in commercial shipments, which means the DOT will collect data on dogs shipped by breeders.
Last year, the DOT reported a total of 42 incidents involving animals, down from 58 in 2012. However, because airlines seem to underreport pet incidents , it's hard to have confidence in those numbers.
While the system is far from perfect, reporting more of this information can only be beneficial to traveling animals. I always assumed the law tracking pets included all animals and was shocked to learn that an injury, loss, or death could go unreported. I hope that the stricter requirements will encourage airlines to develop safer ways to transport animals.