2 pugs die on Jet Airways flight, owner to sue airline
24 Jun 2009
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NEW DELHI: Jimmy and Batnu, four and three years old, respectively, were two healthy pugs who boarded Jet flight 9W 370 from Mumbai to Delhi at 3.30pm on Saturday. When they landed at IGI airport two hours later and were handed over to their owner, both dogs were dead.
Airlines officials allegedly told the shocked owner, Rajendra Tandon, senior vice-president with a textile firm who was flying in the same flight, that the dogs died because of "lack of oxygen". Tandon immediately demanded verification by a veterinary doctor and was taken to a vet in Shanti Niketan.
"There, the doctor confirmed that lack of oxygen could have caused the death. I was crestfallen. I never imagined that my dogs could die in the airplane. I am going to sue the airlines as they have killed my children. I gave them two healthy and happy pugs and they returned me two dead ones," said an inconsolable Tandon, who was shifting from Mumbai to Delhi and has taken up residence at south Delhi's Gulmohar Enclave.
Jet Airways, meanwhile, denied that negligence could have caused the deaths. Said an airline spokesperson, "The cargo compartment which carries live animals always has suitable conditions for the animals, including air conditioning. We have been carrying livestock for several years and nothing like this has ever happened before. In this particular case, we cannot say what caused the deaths but we deeply regret the incident."
However, Tandon was not convinced. "This was not the first time my pugs have travelled in a flight. When I bought Jimmy four months back in Bangkok, he was just two months old. It is a case of sheer negligence and I will take the faulty airline to court so that such incidents don't recur," said Tandon, 53.
While veterinary doctors said lack of proper air pressurization could have caused the deaths, international advisories for shipping dogs clearly say that pug-nosed breeds like bulldogs, boxers and pugs should not travel by air as they have a breathing problems even on the ground and breathing becomes a little more difficult in flights. Some airlines have in the past banned carrying these dogs after similar incidents.
For Tandon's wife, Sunita, the dogs were her constant companions after the couple's two children went to Chennai and Aurangabad for further studies. "We had bought Jimmy from Bangkok four years back for Rs 25,000 and an year later acquired Batnu from Mumbai. It is difficult to comprehend that they have been snatched away from us in this cruel way. I wish I could have kept the pugs in my lap and ensured their safety during the flight," said a teary Sunita Tandon. Around the world, airlines carry pets either in the passenger cabin as excess baggage or as cargo. In this case, they they were being carried as excess baggage but were in the cargo hold