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Wednesday, August 4,2010

American Airlines probes deaths of puppies

By McClatchy-Tribune News Service

CHICAGOAmerican Airlines has launched an investigation into the death of seven puppies that were aboard a flight that landed at O'Hare International Airport.

They were among 15 puppies being transported on Flight 851 that left Tulsa at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday and arrived at O'Hare about an hour and a half later, according to American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan.

Contrary to earlier reports, airline officials have determined that all the puppies were alive when they arrived in Chicago and died sometime after that, Fagan said Wednesday morning.

Two of the puppies died either on their way to a veterinarian or once there, Fagan said. "I do know people were trying to cool them off. The animals looked lethargic," she said.

Fagan said some of the puppies were bound for destinations outside the Chicago area and had been scheduled to be loaded onto connecting flights.

"We're going to figure out what happened. We've been transporting animals safely for 50 years. We do not want this happening again," Fagan said.

Animals are placed last when baggage goes onto an aircraft and are the first off, Fagan said.

Deaths of animals in flight are rare. Between May 2005 and May of this year, a total of 142 animals died in transport on U.S. airlines, 117 of them dogs, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. In May of this year, one animal was reported to have died during transit, and one was reported to have been lost.


(c) 2010, Chicago Tribune.

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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