The death of a beloved pet is hard to handle; even more so when one thinks negligence was the cause. Model Maggie Rizer is in that situation. She thinks United Airlines is responsible for the death of her Golden Retriever.
It started when Maggie, her husband and son recently vacationed in New York. As is often the case, they brought their two dogs with them. The flight to New York was uneventful. However, the flight home to San Fransisco was another matter.
Maggie provided the airlines with special kennels and all the provisions needed for her dogs' flight home. Both Bea, her two-year-old Golden Retriever, and her other dog, Albert, were in good health before going into the cargo hold.
Unfortunately, when the plane touched down in California, that was no longer the case. A cargo worker abruptly informed Maggie that one of her dogs died during the flight. No explanation for the death came with his statement. When Maggie asked for the dog's body so she could have an autopsy performed, an airline told her Bea had already sent it to someone for that purpose.
The problem is, later on Maggie discovered that was a lie. In fact, the dog was still at the airport at the time of her original request. Apparently the man she originally talked to was using a stall tactic to give the airline time to find out how much liability they might face.
To her credit, Maggie kept insisting the dog be turned over to her so she could get her own autopsy. Trust between her and the airline no longer existed so she wasn't about to blindly accept their explanation.
Eventually Maggie had a necropsy performed. The results indicated the dog died of heat stroke. The cause of that condition couldn't be determined without United's help. Instead of offering it, they insisted they found "no mechanical or operational issues with Bea's flight." They went on to add that the dog was kept "in a temperature-controlled environment for her entire journey". Therefore, the airlines denied any guilt whatsoever.
The airline did refund the $1,800 Maggie paid for her two pets' transportation and they paid for the necropsy. Apparently, they felt that was sufficiently magnanimous.
Sadly, a value can't be placed on a pet because they become members of the family. No sum of money would help fill the hole in model Maggie Rizer's heart. However, an apology or at least acknowledgment of their possible role might give her some peace of mind. Sadly, it seems that's not going to happen.