A woman moving from San Diego to Boston decided to fly with United Airlines because she thought she could trust their “PetSafe” program with caring for her dog and cat during the flight. She was horrified during a layover in Texas, however, after witnessing her animals being abused and neglected.
Janet Sinclair says that United’s pet care program appealed to her because it promised that all pets would receive personal care in climate-controlled vehicles and would never be exposed to temperatures above 85 degrees for more than 45 minutes. Sinclair claims she even paid extra for her pets to get a stop in Houston, Texas to ensure their safety on the long journey from San Diego to Boston in July.
"They assured me that my animals would get a safety stop – a comfort stop – in Houston that I paid extra for," claims Sinclair.
While sitting on the plane in Houston, she immediately noticed her pets sitting outside on the tarmac in 94-degree weather. When another passenger suggested she take video of it while they were waiting on the plane for over an hour, Sinclair was shocked with what she saw. Her beloved dog Sedona and cat Alika sat in their crates on the tarmac in the heat, and their crates were even kicked repeatedly by a baggage handler.
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“My dog and cat were never allowed out of their crates and were never given water in 12.5 hours," said Sinclair on her newly created Facebook support page. "Left on the tarmac to bake in Houston heat, Sedona suffered heatstroke and nearly died."
As Sinclair mentioned, Sedona suffered tremendously on the trip and wound up having to spend days in the intensive care unit after arriving in Boston.
"Sedona’s entire crate was filled with blood, feces, urine," said Sinclair. "Sedona was in full heat stroke. All of the blankets were filled with blood. She was urinating and defecating blood. She was dying, literally, right in front of me."
Thankfully, the two pets survived the trip, but the ordeal is not over. Sinclair tried to file a claim with the airline to get them to pay the nearly $3,000 in medical bills stemming from the incident, and United agreed, but only if Sinclair agreed not to go public with her story. Sinclair refused, and now she is trying to get the word out about her experience.
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"I still want to be reimbursed," said Sinclair. "But I’m not going to be quiet."
United Airlines says they are sorry that Sedona “did not have a good experience” while also claiming that the dog had a preexisting condition. Sinclair, however, says that is not true, maintaining that both her pets received a clean bill of health and approval to fly from a vet.