A woman is mourning the loss of her beloved dog, Duke, who died after being left in a crate, on a hot tarmac, for an extended period of time. In a social media post, Duke’s owner, Kay Newman, recounted how her beloved boxer died while on board a Qantas flight from Sydney to Brisbane:
December 19 was a hot day. The forecast for the day was 34C but it reached 39C (102.2F), probably a lot hotter out on the airport tarmac. Duke and I were flying with Qantas from Sydney to Brisbane. I was worried about the heat but was told by Qantas freight staff that Duke would only be kept on the tarmac for a few minutes, and that he would be kept under cover until they were ready to put him on the plane.
Explaining that initially, things went smoothly:
The staff at the freight office were great and when the time came to put Duke into the crate, they patiently waited while I did everything I could to ensure he would be kept cool. I used two bottles of ice water to soak Duke down as well as a towel for him to lay on, and filled up the water bowl. I kept the third bottle completely frozen and placed that in the crate with him. That should have been enough to keep him cool for the time it would take to load him onto the plane.
Newman stated that whenever she travels with Duke, she stands by the window to watch him get boarded onto the airplane. But this time, something was amiss – she writes:
When I arrived at the boarding gates, I could see Duke’s crate already on the tarmac. I’m not sure how long he’d already been there but as I watched, five, ten, fifteen minutes passed, and he was still out there, in the crate, in that heat. I alerted Qantas staff of my concerns over Duke being out in the heat, but I was assured that he was fine and would be loaded shortly.
I kept waiting at the window as passengers started to board. I became extremely distressed and started to cry as I once again told Qantas staff of my concerns about Duke being out in the heat all this time and explained that Boxers don’t tolerate heat very well.
Newman was forced to board the plane and on board a flight attendant noticed that she was distraught and crying. After hearing of the concerns about Duke’s well-being, the captain contacted the ground crew, who assured him that Duke was okay.
But Newman’s concerns were warranted – when the plane landed in Brisbane, she learned the devastating truth – Duke was dead. She writes of the devastating words she heard at the freight office:
‘We have some bad news, I’m sorry but your dog didn’t survive the flight and has passed away.’
I was beside myself, all I could do was scream no, no, no. I demanded to see Duke because I didn’t want to believe what was happening.
Newman was allowed to see her deceased dog and stated that his body was still extraordinarily hot, as was the bottom of the crate. She writes:
My poor boy suffered a terrible death because he was left out on the tarmac by Qantas baggage handlers, in the searing heat whilst they loaded all the passenger’s luggage and post parcels. His death was 100% preventable. Qantas staff did not exercise their duty of care or use any common sense. Instead they treated Duke as though he was nothing but luggage and as a result he suffered an unimaginable death.
Qantas has apologized for Duke’s death. A spokesperson stated:
We have expressed our sympathies to Kay about the passing of her dog, Duke. There was an unexpected delay with the flight which meant he was on the tarmac for longer than usual but our baggage handlers said Duke was fine when he was loaded onto the aircraft.”
Kay Newman has created a petition on Change.org, asking for Qantas to make changes to ensure that no other pets die a painful death like Duke did. Learn more here.
Follow the National Animal News Facebook page for more news, updates and petitions.
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