SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) is investigating an incident where a pet dog died while being transferred to one of its aircraft at Changi Airport on Sept 2, amid claims that the airline was negligent in its handling of the dog.
The dog’s owner, Shabana Mary Kuruvilla, recounted her experience in a Facebook post – which has since gone viral with over 1,000 shares – last Thursday.
SIA confirmed the incident with The Straits Times last Friday, and said the four-year-and-seven-month-old American cocker spaniel named Charlie belonged to passengers who had travelled on flight SQ184 from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City.
“We are conducting an investigation and for privacy purposes, we are unable to share further details. We wish to express our sincere condolences to the owners at this time,” it added.
In her post, Shabana said she and her family had wanted to take Charlie along with them on their trip. According to her, SIA’s pet handling staff handled Charlie’s crate as they were checking in their baggage.
SIA’s pet policy on its website states that pets are not permitted to travel in aircraft cabins, except for medically-certified service dogs. Cats and certain breeds of dogs are allowed as checked baggage.
But upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, SIA staff told Shabana that Charlie had died. She was also shocked to learn that the dog did not board the flight but had died in Singapore, despite an announcement by the pilot that Charlie was on board.
Shabana then took the next flight back to Singapore on the same day to collect Charlie’s body.
She noted that there was “evidence of a big struggle” in Charlie’s cage and said that the dog had also suffered an injury on its paw and chewed up an entire urine pad made of cotton.
Alleging that the airline had been negligent in its handling of Charlie, Shabana also criticised SIA staff for their poor customer service.
She also claimed to have filed a police report on the matter.
Responding to The Straits Times via Facebook messages on Monday, Shabana said that SIA had since written to her stating that it was investigating the matter.
“I want the airline to take this incident seriously as they clearly handled the matter in an insensitive manner,” she added.
“I am only hoping this incident helps the airline make changes to the way pets are handled to ensure more safety for pets.” – The Straits Times