Two pet chinchillas die on Delta

Delta Air LinesTransporting pets safely continues to be a problem on Delta Air Lines, where a whopping 19 pets died last year. The latest incident on Delta to be reported is the February death of two pet chinchillas, who were “mistakenly loaded in the baggage bin with a shipment containing a small amount of dry ice,” according to a monthly report released this week by the US Department of Transportation.

The pets died on a Delta flight from Anchorage to Minneapolis on February 8 and according to the report:

The pets were staged for loading late in the boarding process to provide protection from winter weather.  They were mistakenly loaded in the baggage bin with a shipment containing a small amount of dry ice.  Necropsies were performed but did not identify a cause of death only that the animals were subject to some sort of cardio-vascular insufficiency.  The carbon dioxide from the dry ice could be a plausible explanation for the cardio-vascular insufficiency and may have caused or contributed to the deaths.  Other causes may have been the chinchilla’s heat sensitivity in addition to normal stress related to transportation although the aircraft bin ventilation system was checked and the animals were not exposed to high temperatures during flight.

Corrective action taken:

All Load Supervisors at the originating station were counseled on this incident over and above their annual training covering the system wide ban against loading live animals with shipments containing any amounts of dry ice.  New local procedures have been instituted at the origin station to include a review by the Operations Office to verify shipments with dry ice are not comingled with live animals before approving the dispatch of the aircraft.

Every month, U.S. airlines that perform scheduled passenger transportation are required to file reports with DOT concerning incidents involving the loss, injury or death of animals during air transportation. There were no other deaths in February. Alaska Airlines reported the injury of two pets but there was no evidence that the airlines contributed to the injuries.

Last month United Airlines banned pets as checked baggage and adopted partner Continental’s PetSafe® program.

government report showed that in 2011 35 pets died on airplanes. Delta accounted for 19 of those deaths, which were three more than Delta recorded in 2010.

In striving to help you make the best choices for transporting your pets, The Jet Set Pets will continue to deliver the unsettling news on these unfortunate incidents.


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