Air Canada is in the doghouse after it reportedly lost a pup at SFO -- and then sent a dismissive email to a reporter inquiring about the missing cargo.
The Vancouver Sun has the sad story about Larry, an Italian greyhound whose owner had recently died of cancer. A friend was relocating Larry to another family in Canada. Sadly, he never made it.
According to the newspaper, the pup ran away from Air Canada handlers at San Francisco International Airport on Oct. 7. Air Canada said the dog got loose when workers took the pup out of its crate during a flight delay -- despite strict instructions to leave the dog in the cart. Larry might have slipped out of his collar, the airline claimed.
Jutta Kulic, a retired dog breeder from Ohio who was shipping the dog to a couple to Campbell River in Vancouver, said after Larry ran off, he was hit by a car on Highway 101.
Larry was rushed to a San Francisco vet who performed surgery on the lost pup; they had no idea who the dog or its owner was, but they soon learned of Larry's story from the news. On Tuesday, the vets called Kulic and informed her that they had already euthanized Larry two weeks ago because he was too badly injured.
Hard to believe, but the story gets worse. According to the Consumerist, After a Sacramento news station contacted Air Canada about the missing dog, the airline's spokesman mistakenly mixed up the "forward" and "send" button on his email, thus sending the reporter the following message:
I think I would just ignore, it is local news doing a story on a lost dog. Their entire government is shut down and about to default and this is how the U.S. media spends its time.
Obviously, that email was supposed to go to another Air Canada media relations person, but didn't. The airline apologized not long after realizing just how badly it had screwed up, and instead issued this much more PR-friendly statement.
"Air Canada's employees are extremely sad with the news about Larry. Many of our employees are pet owners and animal lovers, and our San Francisco team in particular continued to hold out hope that Larry would be found safe," the statement said.
Air Canada has agreed to cover Larry's hospital's expenses. In addition, the airline will fly the Canada couple out to Ohio where they will be picking up Larry's brother, Leo.
"This dog will not be going in cargo -- he's small enough to fit into the under-seat carrier, so he will be in Lynda's arms all the time," Kulic told the Sun.
We assume Leo will get first-class treatment.