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United Airlines bans transport of certain breeds of dogs

Written By Julie DeVito  -  Published March 29, 2012  -  FoxNews.com  – h/t to MJ

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  • United Airlines PetSafe program bans nine breeds of dogs, inlcuding Pit Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers. (AP)

The friendly skies of United Airlines have just gotten a little less friendly for some four-legged creatures.

This month, much to the disappointment of some pet owners, United Airlines confirmed its adoption of the Continental Airlines PetSafe program as the merger of the two carriers became official.

The PetSafe program, which had been in place for several years under Continental, is considered the best in the airline industry and has won an Award for Excellence from the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association.

But not everyone is happy with United’s policy that bans nine dog breeds from planes it considers “dangerous.” Breeds, or mixes, that have reached either 6 months of age or 20 pounds that are prohibited are: Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Presa Canario, Perro de Presa Canario, Dogo Argentino, Cane Corso, Fila Brasileiro, Tosa (or Tosa Ken) and Ca de Bou.

Until the merger, United Airlines didn’t have any restrictions on these breeds.

Mary Ryan, spokeswoman for United, told FoxNews.com that the airline adopted the PetSafe Program because it was an overall superior product. "The PetSafe Program has more resources in place: a 24-hour dedicated desk, transportation for the animals."

But some pet owners say the ban is a discriminatory practice. Jessie Huart says she learned of the ban while trying to book a ticket to travel with her 10-year-old pit bull, Slaw. She started a petition at Change.org to encourage airline officials to remove the breed restriction in their dangerous dog policy.

“These types of policies are opposed by every major dog-related organization. The American Veterinary Medical Association and the National Animal Control Association argue that physical appearance isn’t an effective way to predict or address aggression,” the petition site says.

The airline’s policy was recently revised to eliminate the phrase "dangerous breeds," but the ban remains.

Another change in United policy was that the airline classified pets traveling in the cargo hold as cargo rather than checked luggage. That became a problem for some traveling with pets from certain countries, especially overseas American military families who were facing potentially large third-party freight fees.

Last week, under mounting pressure, United eased restrictions. "Because we share our customers’ concern that their pets’ flights are stress-free, we have enhanced our animal acceptance policy to transport pets as both baggage (accompanying a passenger on the same plane) and cargo,” it states on its website.

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, of Paw Curious.com, told FoxNews.com that although United is the only airline that has a ban on certain breeds, all airlines reserve the right to turn away a dog on an individual basis if he or she appears ill or aggressive.

“The American Veterinary Medical Association, the CDC, the ASPCA and the HSUS all agree that the visual appearance of a dog has no correlation to its propensity to display aggression.” Vogelsang told FoxNews.com. “I am fine with an airline making policy decisions based on evidence that are meant to keep the pet safe, but adamantly opposed to policies based on assumptions and fear that do nothing to help the pet or the owner. It certainly has nothing to do with the fact that these so called "dangerous" breeds are themselves more at risk when they travel.”

Traveling by air with animals, especially unique breeds, has never been easy. So what other options do you have with other airlines?

American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Northwest Airlines do not have any restrictions against specific breeds. Southwest and America West/US Airlines both will not ship live animals, but they will accept legitimate service dogs inside the cabin.

Melanie Monteiro, a dog safety expert and author of the “Safe Dog Handbook,” says no matter what your dog’s breed, travelers should keep in mind a few basics.

1.Your dog must be deemed in peak health by his/her vet prior to any flight. Underlying medical conditions are one of the leading causes of air travel-related illness or death in pets. The airline’s required veterinary health certificate will cover this.

2.Short-nosed breeds (i.e., boxers, bulldogs, pugs, bull mastiffs) are prone to respiratory problems and should not fly below cabin. Overweight and elderly dogs are also at risk.

3. Check kennel size and weight restrictions (which is the combined weight of the pet, PLUS the carrier) for your particular airline.

4. Ensure your pet’s kennel is in top condition with no loose latches. The kennel must be large enough for your pet to stand up, turn around and lay down in.

5. Allow extra time for check in when traveling with pets, and ensure your dog has had a nice long walk before the flight.

As far as booking a tough breed on United or any other carrier, pet owners are advised to always call the airlines first.

Transporting Pets:
If you want to transport your dog or cat by air, Pet Airways is the safest way to fly your pet. Pets traveling on Pet Airways fly in the main cabin of our aircraft. Pets are continuously watched over by our On-Board Pet Attendants. Our Pet Lounges are pet–friendly, of course, and all our team are pet professionals.

Whether you are shipping a dog that has been rescued, need to move your dog to another city, flying your new puppy home, or just want to vacation with your cat or travel with your dog, Pet Airways is dedicated to making pet transportation safe and comfortable for your pet.

Better Alternative: Check out Pet Airwayshttp://www.petairways.com/

How to Transport a Pet by Air
There are 4 ways to ship a pet:

  • Fly with your pet. If your pet is small and under 20lbs, you can fly with your pet by putting it under your seat. If your pet is too large, your pet flies in cargo hold.
  • Ship your pet, just like you ship a package. You take your pet to the cargo department of the airline, and your dog or cat are transported just just like they transport all their packages, in the cargo hold.
  • Hire a Pet Shipper. Pet Shippers provide the convenience of taking and picking up your pet from the cargo department of the airlines. Your pet flies in the cargo hold.
  • Transport your pet with Pet Airways the one and only pet airline. Our pets are "pawsengers" and we treat them with TLC throughout the pet travel experience.

So, if you are travelling with your dog, moving with your cat across the country, taking a vacation with your pet, transporting a pet to grandma for a visit, Pet Airways is the pet-only airline, where the pet safety is our most important job. All we do is fly pets, safely.

 

Video:  Travel on Pet Airways – "How it Works"

Better Alternative: Check out Pet Airways  -  http://www.petairways.com/

And if all else fails… Consider a driving trip!!

Related:

Resources:

Traveling With Dogs

The Portable petswelcome.com

Traveling With Your Pet  -  AAA Publishing

Ask Marion at Just One More Pet

March 30, 2012 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Owner's Rights, Pets, Political Change, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

With Pets Travel Series -10 Tips For Bringing Your Pet Overseas – Part IV

When my husband and I adopted our two puppies (Molly and Jack) everyone told us that would be the end of our carefree travel days.   This summer we will be flying to Madrid and living in apartment in the Chamberi area for three months.  Our two dogs?  They’re coming with us.

Here are the top ten tips, if you want to take your furry buddy overseas:

1.  Plan ahead. Some countries like the UK require special tests 4 months before you arrive.  This site, www.pettravel.com lists the entry requirements by country.

2.  What’s in a breed? If you have a pug or other short nosed breed, many airlines will not allow them due to increased difficulties breathing on the plane.  Sorry, that’s the rule.

3.  Check or Carry? Determine if you are going to check your pet as cargo or bring them on the flight with you.  If your pet is less than 25 lbs, it’s up to you.  If your pet is over 25 lbs then they must be checked in the cargo area.  Doesn’t count against your luggage total—thankfully! Take weather and time of year and time you are flying into consideration.  (Domestically checkout the new Pet Only Airlines and Internationally checkout some of other transport services.)

4.  Call ahead. Some airlines require you to call and make a reservation for your pet; others do not, to avoid confusion call ahead and find out their policy.

5.  Calculate total cost. In our case, the cheapest flight at $2000 roundtrip charged a whopping $1600 in fees for our dogs (Total: $3200).  A more expensive flight at $2500 roundtrip was with an airline that only charged $200 for the dogs (Total: $2700).  Note: Go non-stop if you can.

6.  Make sure Fido Fits.  When buying a pet carrier we brought our dogs with us into PetSmart and had them test out sizes.  Your pet should be able to stand up, turn around and lay down comfortably.  Note: The carrier label should say “Airline Approved”.

7.  Get your shots.  For most of Europe, you just need to have a USDA certified vet fill out a form stating your pet has the appropriate rabies shots.

8.  Forget sleeping pills.  While you may want to pass out with some Ambient on the flight over, don’t do your pet the same favor.  Any type of tranquillizer is discouraged as they can make it difficult for your pet to breath in the pressurized cabin.

9.  Food and Drink.  Don’t forget to tape food and a water bowl to the top of your carrier if you are checking your pet into cargo.

10.  THIS SIDE UP.  Be sure to label your carrier with lots of warnings and all needed information including your contact information in case you get separated.  Have contact info on carrier and pet.  (If your pet is micro-chipped make sure it is the correct type.)

By Christine Gilbert – 04/27/08

Posted:  Just One More Pet

Related Posts:

September 29, 2009 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Travel, Pets | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

With Pets Travel Series: Ten Tips for Traveling with Pets Part III

Although bringing your pet when you travel may seem impossible, in most cases it’s surprisingly easy as long as you plan ahead. Please read these ten tips to help get going. Your dog (or cat) will thank you.

10. Check your destination country’s pet health requirements several months in advance.

Every country has its own requirements regarding required health vaccinations, inspections upon arrival, and, sometimes, quarantine. It’s important that you know exactly what the requirements are several months in advance. For example, certain countries specify that your pet must have a rabies vaccination less than a year old but at but no less than 30 days from date of flight. Don’t get stuck having to change your ticket. Prepare for all of the requirements before you go by calling the consulates of the countries you’ll be visiting and asking about their requirements or checking USDA website here.. If you’re going to be traveling between two or more countries without returning to your home country, you may want to locate a vet in the areas where you’ll be staying so that a new pet health certificate can be completed if necessary.

9. Make sure your pet has a clean bill of health.

Regardless of the destination, most travel into another country will require that you present a pet health certificate to confirm that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. There are typically strict requirements that establish how far in advance of your trip the certificate needs to be completed—usually no more than 5 to 10 days before your departure.

8. Check your carrier’s regulations.

Almost all airlines, trains, and buses have specific regulations that apply to pets on the go, and those regulations can vary greatly from one carrier to another. Check online or call the carrier to ask about pet regulations. Some of the questions to ask include: How many pets can be on-board at once? What are the boarding requirements? What are the pet carrier or crating requirements? Do you need to show up at the airport earlier if you’re traveling with your pet?


7. Prepare your pet’s carrier.

First, make sure that your pet’s carrier fits the transportation provider’s requirements for size, type (hard side vs. soft side), and interior (lined vs. not lined). If it’s allowed in the cabin, make sure that the pet can fit in the carrier comfortably and still fit under the seat. If you’ll be traveling by air, ask for an aisle seat; middle seats are typically storage sites for electronic equipment, and it’s unlikely a carrier will fit well under that seat. Make sure that your pet’s leash and some plastic bags, paper towels, and handwipes are stored in or near the carrier for quick access if needed.

6. Prepare for security screening.

Most U.S. airports require that you remove your pet (if it is a dog or cat) from its carrier and place it in your arms while passing through the security checkpoint. If your pet is unaccustomed to loud noises, you may want to practice a few times before arriving at the airport by exposing your pet to some high traffic places so he or she won’t be scared or startled.

5. Make sure your pet has ID.

Even if you don’t tag your luggage, make sure you tag your pet’s crate or carrier, whether in the cabin or in cargo, and make sure your pet is wearing a tag on its collar with its name and your contact information.

4. Carry contact information.

Note your pet’s health information and vet contact information among your documents. This seems simple, but lots of people forget to take their vet’s contact information with them. Your home vet can be a great resource while abroad, though, so don’t forget!

3. Check the pets-welcome policy for your lodgings

Increasingly, non-pet friendly lodgings are cracking down on enforcement, some charging a “heavy cleaning” or “convenience fee”—in many cases non-refundable—if they discover that you have a pet. Be sure to ask about the pet policy for the places where you plan to stay. Check out www.petswelcome.com for a list of places around the world that are pet friendly.

2. Get to know your pet’s travel needs.

If you’ve never traveled with your pet before, you may be surprised to see how different he or she is on the road. After your first trip, you’ll begin to get an idea of your pet’s specific needs and plan for them accordingly. If you have a dog, be sure to walk it before arriving at the airport. Keep a few plastic bags in your bag for disposal of waste.

1. Last call checklist:

Check your bags once more before you go: Leash? Meds (if liquids, are they stored appropriately)? Food? Water? Water/Food Bowls? Vet record? Blankets? Toy? and Contact Information?

Julie Schwietert Collazo – Matador & Boston.com

Posted:  Just One More Pet

September 28, 2009 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Travel, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments