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SHIPPING A DOG OR PUPPY WITH AN AIRLINE

By Ed Presnall

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1. NEVER ship through Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, or Newark. Not that I don't like the towns, they just seem to have a higher percentage of problems than other cities. I will only use these airports IF there is no change of planes AND the ground turnaround time is less than 30 minutes.
2. If you are fighting the temperature outside -- DO NOT SHIP YOUR DOG OR PUPPY.
3. Always ship *Priority*. Several airlines have Priority Counter-to-Counter Service for shipping an animal without a human accompanying them. Other airlines have Priority Service for animals who accompany their owners on a flight. The cost is slightly more, but well worth it.
4. Get everything in writing from the airline. You *must* be aware of every stop along the way. "Direct" flights are NOT the same as "Non-Stop". "Direct" can mean several set downs along the way to the final destination city and generally only means "no plane change."
5. Make the airline call the receiving city and tell them the dog is coming (also any city where the plane will stop).
6. INSURE the dog for $10,000 (it costs about $15). Without insurance, your animal is valued at around $750 - the same amount as for a lost suitcase. Expensive packages tend to get more attention. This is not the general rule, of course, but I have even heard of a case or two when a dog or puppy made the trip in the cockpit because of the value of the dog.
7. Explain to the counter folks that they cannot HIDE if anything goes wrong.
8. Stand at the airline UNTIL you see the dog loaded on the plane. If you are flying with the dog, insist that the airline verify that the dog is on the plane before the plane taxies out to the runway. The animal cannot speak for itself; therefore you must speak for the animal.
9. Call the new owner from the airport with the airbill number and make sure they are at the receiving airport 30 minutes before the flight is due. (Screaming at the counter folks "WHERE THE HELL IS MY DOG?" every 2 minutes seems to help.)
10. Have the new owner explain to the counter folks that they cannot HIDE if anything goes wrong.
11. Keep FAA's phone number, business card, and a contact name on your person when shipping anything *live*. If you are flying in another country, check with your government for the regulatory agency like the FAA.
12. The Federal Aviation Authority, FAA, has some very strict laws in place regarding live cargo, and they are ready and willing to enforce them for you.
13. Temperature regulations for the cargo bay are in place for a reason; see #12 above. Regulations cited for shipping live cargo generally prohibit shipping when temperatures are above 85 degrees F or below 45 degrees F. A letter of acclimation from a veterinarian can circumvent this rule, but the responsibility for the decision to put the animal on the plane is ultimately YOURS.
14. The law says that the airline must take the animal to a vet of the owner's choice in case of an emergency. You do NOT have to use the vet supplied (and often paid) by the airline.
15. GO TO FAA FIRST! Yelling at the airline will not do any good. Let the FAA explain to the landing city that the airline can lose their license if they do not treat a dog in any physical difficulty.
16. Pray!

IF A PROBLEM ARISES

If a problem arises, you and the new owner both call or go to the FAA (they have offices at every airport). The FAA will start an investigation and determine that all of the facts are correct. The FAA has the power to force the airline to pay all expenses, fine the airline, and can in very bad cases, revoke their license to transport animals. This is much cheaper and cleaner for you, and you will obtain much faster results than a lawsuit, and the end result will be much more PUBLIC. The FAA will start an investigation and determine that all of the facts are correct.

Don't even bother to go back on the airlines. They are not afraid of you, but they are afraid of the FAA.

RECOMMENDATION

One of the best ways, if not the best way, to send your dog or puppy is through Delta Dash (not Delta). These folks are animal specialists, and the cost for this service is a mere $15.00 surcharge to air freight. Services will vary by airline, of course, so be sure and check into what services each airline offers.

A NOTE ON THE AUTHOR

Ed Presnall very graciously consented to let me reprint this page on our site. He is a writer of some distinction in the dog world and is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America.

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Deborah Burton
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