The federal government and its law enforcement baffle me. More often than not these days. Animal lovers and pet owners will want to hear this one, because it was certainly news to me.
The Atlanta Journal & Constitution recently conducted a review of "animal incident" reports filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation. While the loss or injury of even one pet is unacceptable, what I found most disturbing about this report is that not all "animal incidents" are required by federal law to be reported.
For example, Maggie Mae, a West Highland white terrier puppy, was crushed to death on the tarmac at Atlanta's airport this spring; however, Delta Air Lines didn't report this incident. Why? Because federal law didn't require them to because the puppy was shipped by a breeder. Her death -- like those of many other animals owned by businesses -- doesn't 'count' under regulations that contain a big whopping loop hole.
At present, "animal" is defined to mean "one that is being kept as a pet in a family household in the United States." This loop hole allows incidents involving commercially owned animals such as shipments from breeders, pet stores, laboratories and farms -- most of the animals traveling aboard aircraft -- to go unreported.
The airlines say they carry hundreds of thousands of animals each year and the vast majority are transported safely. Nationally, in the past year, airlines have reported the deaths of 29 pets; an additional 13 were injured and seven were lost, according to the AJC report. The question is, given this horrifying loop hole in federal regulations, how many animal incidents are not being reported?
We as pet owners have the ability to facilitate the closing of this loop hole, which in turn will hopefully force the airlines to treat our pets with the same care and respect they do unattended children when traveling. Because as we all know, our pets are our children and no one should ever have to suffer a loss like that.
Please contact your local representative and encourage them to help change this legislation.