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Airport Worker Fired After Refusing To Load Dog

Pointer - File Photo
Pointer - File Photo

RENO, Nevada — Airport baggage handler Lynn Jones saw the sad look on the listless, emaciated dog sitting in a pet carrier and knew something was wrong. Then she saw that its body was covered with sores and its paws were worn raw.

“It was so thin, it made me cry,” she said.

If that dog gets on that plane, she remembered thinking, it would certainly die. And when she refused a supervisor’s orders to load it onto the Texas-bound flight, she was fired.

Now, a month after the incident at Reno-Tahoe International Airport, the dog has recovered. And Jones, while her former employer and airport officials have praised her for her actions, remains without her old job.

Peggy Hohl, vice president of employee services for Jones’ former employer, Airport Terminal Services Inc., based in St. Louis, said in an email that the company is taking the matter “very seriously.”

A statement posted on the company’s web site said officials were investigating, and that the company “commends this employee’s situational awareness and her desire to raise the concern on behalf of the canine.”

“ATS is reviewing the actions of all employees involved to determine if the appropriate action was taken,” it said.

Jones, 56, is no stranger to animals. She once owned a dog grooming shop and lives about 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of Reno with three dogs, three cats and a bird — all rescued from shelters over the years.

“I wanted to adopt this dog,” she said.

When she was working in the cargo area several weeks ago, she saw the pet carrier and the dog.

When she told her supervisor about it, she said, he insisted she load the pointer bound for Corpus Christi, Texas, because its paperwork was in order and its condition was none of her concern.

“I kept telling my supervisor, ‘That dog is going to die if it gets on that plane,'” Jones said.

“He didn’t even really look at the dog,” she said. “He just kept saying: ‘The dog is going, the dog is going.’ And I kept saying, ‘It is not.’ And we went back and forth, ‘Yes it is, no it isn’t, yes it is.'”

“I was hysterical and crying and yelling because the plane was going to leave and I was afraid the dog was going to be on it. I kept saying, ‘Please, please, the dog is going to die,'” she said.

Airport police phoned the animal welfare agency, which took custody of the dog.

The dog, apparently owned by a hunter who has it shipped to places he hunts, was shipped back to Texas after being nursed back to health, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal, which first reported the incident on Monday.

“It just breaks my heart to think that dog has been sent back to that owner. It’s disgusting. It makes me ill,” she told The Associated Press. “I can’t fathom why they would send it back to someone who obviously was abusing the dog.”

Jones said that Monday was the first day her ex-employer had contacted her.

“They wanted to hear my side, finally,” she said. “They said, ‘I abandoned my job,’ but I didn’t. He told me to go home. I was a very good employee. I was there early every day. I would not have abandoned my job.’

Jones said she doesn’t know if she would accept an offer to return to her job.

“I would have to really think about it,” she said.

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Joe
Joe
8 years ago

spare me…

Lisa
Lisa
8 years ago
Reply to  Joe

Have a heart, Joe.

Cymruheart
Cymruheart
8 years ago

Good for you, Lynn Jones. I am DAILY disgusted at the actions of my fellow “human” beings and their total disregard for animals, so it is refreshing to have someone with the moral integrity and conscience to do the right thing!  I”m sorry you had to lose your job over this, but I believe this will work out in your favor!  

Barbara Bazuniuk Chatelain

it would’ve been worth it for me to have a strong conviction to ”CARE” for helpless animals!!! too. why isn’t that stupid hunter (who doesn’t care about any animals , bids etc. probably his own family) why isn’t he Fined or starved to death?

EdenB
EdenB
8 years ago

Righ on Barbara!  Let’s put that hunter into a crate, let him get some sores and then ensure he doesn’t receive food or water for a while…

Barbara Bazuniuk Chatelain

it would’ve been worth it for me to have a strong conviction to ”CARE” for helpless animals!!! too. why isn’t that stupid hunter (who doesn’t care about any animals , bids etc. probably his own family) why isn’t he Fined or starved to death?

Tex
Tex
8 years ago

Speaking as someone that owns hunting dogs-

They are athletes, they are lean dogs that put their all into what they love to do, hunt. I’ve never been on a week long hunt, but mine come home from 2-4 day hunts with cuts, worn pads and skinny because they just won’t eat as much on the road.

They are also my best friends, hunting partners, and pets. They follow me around the house, they sleep in the bed, they lay on the couch with me as I watch TV, and are sitting in a chair in my office that is theirs as I type this.

I don’t push my agenda on you, don’t push yours on me.

Also, I have rescue dogs, and come from a family that rescues dogs. The two are not as odds.

Frankif07
Frankif07
8 years ago
Reply to  Tex

Tex (name of my former dog)..ur reponse is ODD, to say the least

Tex
Tex
8 years ago
Reply to  Frankif07

How so?

Dbubbadog1
Dbubbadog1
8 years ago
Reply to  Frankif07

Texs response is not odd at all and your shows you do not know much about the breed. I am a lifelong bird hunter as well as a trainer and breeder of Pointers and from much experience can tell ya that this breed works so hard afield that the bloodied paws, cuts sores and so called emaciated condition is typical of even a hard single days hunt. I am not putting the handler down, she had the best of intentions, but I do wish they would detail what the dog was “nursed back to health” from. I will not say there are not some major idiots who own hunting dogs as I have had my own run ins with those idiots but I would bet ya there was nothing truly wrong with the dog.

Lisa
Lisa
8 years ago
Reply to  Tex

Great post, Tex.  However, mine are ravenous after their hunts and are exceptionally muscular, but NOT thin.  Hunters typically decrease food amounts during hunting to reduce the pup’s weight in an attempt to increase their speed.

Kudos to you for your rescue work and hugs to your lucky pups.

Kortneeweis
Kortneeweis
8 years ago

The woman did good in my opinion. and Obviously the dog wouldnt have survived the flight. The owner doesnt deserve a dog if they insist on traveling with the dog in THAT kind of condition.

Donna Cornell Rich
8 years ago

The worker did what was right on behalf of the dog. She should be proud! Good for her!

Donna Cornell Rich
8 years ago

The worker did what was right on behalf of the dog. She should be proud! Good for her!

Steven Thompson
8 years ago

…and now she’s unemployed.

Barbara Short
8 years ago

this woman is awesome,i wish more humans show this much concernabout dogs ,or animals period!!as far as hunting is concernd ,i know alot of huntingdogs  get got rid of when season is over,and thats a fact!!

Tex
Tex
8 years ago
Reply to  Barbara Short

So spend years to train a dog and get rid of it after a season> I don’t know any hunters that do that… How do you know it’s a fact?

Lisa
Lisa
8 years ago
Reply to  Tex

Hi Tex,

The behavior Barbara Short eluded to is sadly VERY COMMON.  Some of the reasons are if the dog misses a few birds and most certainly when the dog is senior and/or after overbreeding the pups.  Unfortunately, the lion’s share of hunting dogs are not part of a hunter’s family, but merely a means to an end.  I’m a proud guardian of 3 amazing rescued, GSPs as well a volunteer with GSP Rescue and I see it ALL the time. 

dogz r us
dogz r us
8 years ago

Dogs are our protectors, hunters, companions, etc. No way I would have put that dog, in obviously bad shape, into the cargo hold of a southern bound plane! I also, would have been fired!!

Dog Lover, Bird Hunter
Dog Lover, Bird Hunter
8 years ago

Go ask your vet what a healthy dog looks like and they will tell you that you should, at the very least, be able to see the last two ribs on a short haired dog and should be able to feel the ribs on a long haired dog. There is no muscle between the ribs and the skin. Americans are just used to seeing obese dogs.  Yes there is a chance that this lady was correct and the dog truly was neglected, but there is also just as good of a chance that she had no clue what she was talking about and didn’t realize what a fit, tired dog, beat up dog looks like after a week of hunting, which, by the way, if you get the opportunity to watch a hunting dog hunt, you’ll realize you’re watch a dog that is truly happy and doing the thing it was meant to do.  It a shame that the hunter wasn’t given the opportunity to defend himself/herself. 

Lisa
Lisa
8 years ago

Agreed about watching a hunting dog hunt – it’s symphonic!  Hunting dogs are a special needs group, however, when it comes to the betterment and protection of a dog vs hearing the defense of a hunter – I’m going with the protection of the voiceless dog.  Lynn Jones ROCKS!

Texas Man
Texas Man
8 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

Actually you feed dogs more on a hunting trip to keep their energy level up because they’re burning it up so fast, not less “so it’ll have more speed”. You people are speaking out of pure ignorance when it comes to hunters and their dogs. Those dogs get treated like kids. You’re all reading an article from a writer who is obviously EXTREMELY biased and trying to start waves. Listen to both sides of a story before you go posting out your butt on something you know obviously very little. I’m glad she got fired, she deserved it. Have fun in that unemployment line lady!

Texas Man
Texas Man
8 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

Actually you feed dogs more on a hunting trip to keep their energy level up because they’re burning it up so fast, not less “so it’ll have more speed”. You people are speaking out of pure ignorance when it comes to hunters and their dogs. Those dogs get treated like kids. You’re all reading an article from a writer who is obviously EXTREMELY biased and trying to start waves. Listen to both sides of a story before you go posting out your butt on something you know obviously very little. I’m glad she got fired, she deserved it. Have fun in that unemployment line lady!

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