Michigan native says airline at fault for death of her dog

By Ken Haddad , Jermont Terry - Reporter

DETROIT - A Michigan native says United Airlines is at fault for the death of her beloved dog.

Kathleen Considine, a Dearborn native and current Oregon resident according to her Facebook page, was attempting to fly her dog from Detroit to Portland, with a layover in Chicago.

The dog was to travel a total of 10 hours, but somehow it took more than 24 hours for her dog to get home. When the golden retriever arrived, he was weak and later died.

Considine misses her beloved buddy, Jacob.

"He was my very best friend. He was so happy," Considine said.

Considine recently moved from Dearborn to the Portland area and had finally saved enough for Jacob to move with her, so she paid for a physical exam and a flight to fly him from Michigan to Oregon on United Airlines.

"His one-hour layover in Chicago turned into a 20-hour layover," Considine said.

During the 20-hour layover, she said the airline failed to feed Jacob.

"When he got there he was not the Jacob that was in Detroit," Considine said.

By the time she got Jacob home, his condition worsen.

"His breathing started becoming really scarce and I rushed him to the emergency vet, where they got him on a table right away," Considine said. "They did eight minutes of CPR and then they lost him."

Her vet said the golden retriever died from a stomach complication called GVD.

"One can be from overeating," Considine said. "The other is stress. Since Jacob didn't get fed, we know it's stress from the flight."

She posted her story to Facebook on Friday night - it has been shared more than 10,000 times since then.

Here's her story:

Hi friends, I'm asking all DOG LOVER'S to please read and SHARE this post. The word needs to get out that airline travel is UNSAFE for dogs. They are treated like baggage instead of loyal, loving family members.

I am absolutely disgusted with the way UNITED AIRLINES is responding to my best friend, Jacob's, death this past week.

Jacob was supposed to fly from Detroit to Portland with a 1 hour layover in Chicago. At 80 pounds, Jacob needed a giant crate for his journey and there was question as to whether or not it would fit on the plane. The airline agent in Detroit confirmed Jacob would fit on his first and second flight, no question.

Jacob went for a MANDATORY physical less than 24 hours before his flight, where he was cleared for airline travel with no previous health concerns.

When Jacob landed in Chicago, it was found that the airline agent LIED and he did not fit on the plane to Portland. He was then sent to a kennel over night, 20 HOURS, until the next flight out he could fit on.

The airline DID NOT ALLOW my mother to send food with Jacob, due to the intended short duration of his journey, even though it is mandated that the crates have a food bowl and their website states they may have a zip lock bag less than 1 pound of food attached to the top of their crate.

When Jacob finally arrived in Portland, he was disoriented and non-responsive. The United agent said the airline may have given him medication, but he didn't know. The airline DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to give medication, especially without telling us what, when, or why.

After his three hour journey to central Oregon, Jacob was still non-responsive, and getting worse. My very best friend who I was expecting to trample me with kisses barely even acknowledged my existence. There was clearly something wrong when he landed in Portland. He was not the same dog he was when he was in Detroit.

After rushing Jacob to the emergency vet when his breathing became scarce, he was pronounced dead after 8 min of CPR. His stomach flipped due to the stress of his journey that was 20 hours longer than expected, and suffocated his organs.

UNITED AIRLINES IS ASSUMING ZERO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE DEATH OF MY BEST FRIEND.

Jacob was a happy, healthy 7 yr old golden retriever who loved me and every single being he met unconditionally.

Nothing will bring my baby back, but I am asking everyone to please share this post so nobody else has to go through this terrible tragedy.

United Airlines "PetSafe" program is cruel. They treat animals like baggage. They did not care if Jacob had food or water or any time out of his cage. They are incredibly rude and have shown no sympathy for my dog's death. I would have received the same responses if they were to have broken my guitar in baggage.

The airline is ignoring my questions and concerns so I am turning my attention to Facebook in hopes to spread the word.

I am asking everyone to PLEASE SHARE and get the word out about this terrible, negligent company. My heart is broken and I never want this to happen to another dog parent.

Rest in peace, my sweet polar bear. I love you forever.

Local 4 News reached out to United Airlines for comment, which said in a statement:

"We were deeply saddened to hear of Jacob's passing after we returned him to the care of his owner. Our PetSafe team is committed to the safety and comfort of all the pets that travel with us. We worked to ensure Jacob's comfort throughout his entire journey and he showed no signs of distress nor behave in a way that would suggest he was unwell while in our care. Though we understand little can ease the grief that accompanies the loss of a pet, we've been in touch with Ms. Considine to offer our condolences and discuss this matter further."

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