Kitten death on Delta -- Important Please Read | Sphynxlair

Kitten death on Delta -- Important Please Read

Discussion in 'My Sphynx Cat Tail' started by doriansmomma, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. doriansmomma

    doriansmommaLairian

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    Hi Everyone, Last night our family experienced the worst tragedy I have ever personally experienced & I wanted to post this hoping to reach as many Sphynx cat owners & breeders as I possibly can.

    We purchased an 11 week old Sphynx kitten from a breeder & her flight was scheduled to come in last night at 8:40PM on Delta Flight # 738 into BDL (Hartford). (Climate controlled cargo by Delta Dash)

    We arrived at the airport at 8:15pm, camera & 2 kids in hand to pick up our long awaited new arrival. We immediately went to baggage claim where we would pick her up from her long flight from Utah.

    When we arrived, we were told to go sit by the conveyors for luggage & that as soon as the plane was unloaded, they would bring our new family member out to us. We waited & waited & at 8:50 I went to the baggage claim & asked for an update. I told the woman that the kitten was a Sphynx & had no hair & that I was beginning to worry since it was only 7 degrees outside. I was told the flight had arrived on time (8:40pm), but to sit back down, that the cargo hold latch was stuck, but they were doing all they could & would bring her out as soon as they could.

    I wasn't incredibly alarmed, After all, I paid $290 for her to be in a climate controlled cargo area. I figured she would be fine as long as she wasn't outdoors. At 9:30pm, they brought the carrier out to me & the woman who handed the carrier to me told me I should take her out & that the carrier was very cold. She removed the zip ties & I took the carrier to the floor & opened the door.

    The kitten was ICE cold, limp, and unresponsive. I IMMEDIATELY put her into my coat, grabbed my kids by the hands & ran out of the airport to get her into my car & cranked up the heat putting all vents on her as I rubbed her trying to warm her up.

    She couldn't lift or control any limbs, her breathing was labored, she had a blank stare in her eyes, and she let out a meow. As if to say help me -- please.

    We rushed her to the emergency vet clinic, but to my utter devastation, on the drive, she let out a blood curdling cry & went completely limp as we frantically drove to the vet.

    When we arrived, I literally ran in, and gave her to the nurse who whisked her into the back. After 10 minutes, a vet came out & told me that she that she was "DOA" and that there was nothing they could have done to save her. There was nothing I could have done to save her either.

    The vet then explained to me that once a plane lands, the cargo compartment depressurizes & there is no longer climate control. She told me that she didn't stand a chance in this freezing weather sitting in the Delta Cargo hold for almost 50 minutes.

    I spent the rest of the night last night crying & more or less having a nervous breakdown. She died cold, lonely & scared. Her last hour of life was spent frozen & unable to escape. I am so utterly devastated -- I cannot express to anyone how this feels. I am so sad for her, her little 11 week life lost for no reason. A tragedy that could have been prevented if the airline had valued her little promising life.

    Delta didn't have much to say to me last night & I am waiting for the president of cargo to call me today, the bottom line is that they can't bring her back to me or my family, there is nothing they can say or do to make this whole. We don't want a new kitten, we fell in love with HER. She was our new child & there is nothing that can be done to bring her home to us. Snickers lost her life unnecessarily.

    I just hope that by reading this, I can save someone else the devastation. If you are buying a kitten & live in a cold climate -- PLEASE RETHINK SHIPMENT WHEN IT IS BELOW 30 degrees. If you are a breeder -- PLEASE RETHINK SHIPMENT if you are shipping to an area below 30 degrees. You can put a kitten in a climate controlled cargo, but if it depressurizes -- IT IS NO LONGER CLIMATE CONTROLLED.

    Please please please don't let another kitten die, be patient, let it warm up a bit. As we all know, these hairless creatures are the most loving wonderful animals, but they just don't stand a chance against a cargo area that is utterly freezing with employees who are more concerned with getting luggage to their respective owners. Value life everyone, I have just experienced something I pray no one here has too. Don't let Snickers lost life be in vain, I pray you guys read this & maybe another kittens life won't be lost to the cold & lonely Delta Cargo holds.
     
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    • Shauntay

      ShauntayBanned

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      I am reading your post in tears, I cannot imagine what you are going through! I am so so sorry for your loss! :(
       
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      • Catzzzmeow

        CatzzzmeowModerator Staff Member

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        I am crying too...what a horrible story. There are no words that one can say to make you feel better...just know by posting you will make a difference in the future for another family.
         
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        • bellasmom

          bellasmomBanned

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          I am so sorry for your loss. I cant imagine what you went/are going through. What a horrible thing to happen!! Thank you for sharing. I hope people take this seriously and wait until the weather is warmer to ship
           
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          • wouldluvabarebaby

            wouldluvabarebabyLairian

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            I am no stranger to tragedy, and I find this absolutely outrageous and devastating! I am just numb after reading this and my thoughts and prayes are with your family.​
             
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            • Nofuratu

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              Omigosh!!! I am so sorry.
              Thank you for your post! It must have been very hard to write.
              Reading this has made me cry and you are right to warn people to be more patent.
              I was very impatient to get my sphynx 4 years ago!
              His flight was cancelled twice because of snowstorms and we got him on the third flight. The breeder said something about the airline not allowing him to fly in less than 10 degrees or something (Im Canadian and may be confusing fahrenheit and celcius).
              But I remember being so impatient!!! The same thing could have happened to Nofuratu because he was shipped this time of year.
              I had no idea about the climate control being off after landing.
              Your post has made me decide to never get a cat that is shipped in winter again!!!
              Next time I will spend a week driving instead of risking a poor kitty.
              I hope the airline learns from this as well!!!
              I also want to say, and please dont misunderstand because I think what happend is unforgivable!!!
              But I want you to feel a some relief....Your kitten wouldnt have been in pain....Ive done lots of reading on hypothermia victims and they all describe a feeling of numbness and overwhelming sleepiness rather than cold and pain. As a retired vet tech I also know that many animals give out a loud howl before dying, even though they arent in pain....its just what the body does before they go.
              Please, please dont think I am trying to "belittle" what your baby went through though!! I just know I would be consumed with thinking of my baby's final moments, and how they suffered....and thinking they suffered horribly would just kill me!! So I thought it would help to know that hypothermia is described that way by people who have experienced it....
              This is horrible and shouldnt have happened and I am so sorry!!! Your whole family must be so devastated with what should have been a day for celebrating.
              I think you should call the newspapers, and/or sue the airline...
              not because money will help.......but I think when this sort of thing is publicised it educates the public!!!! It will make a lot of people think twice before shipping their loved one, even with climate control.
              So many people move, and their pets have to fly cargo, and everyone should know that this happens.
              I had no idea. Thank you very much for posting. Im sure knowing this information will help other cats, and other animals and their owners!
               
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              • doriansmomma

                doriansmommaLairian

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                After not hearing back from the president of cargo as I was promised at 1am this morning, I called & left a message at 11. Delta just called & told me that the investigation is now being handled by Norma Bayron who is the "Manager of Claims." Manager of claims? She wasn't someones lost luggage, she was a thriving, living, loving animal. She was our baby, not a claim.

                Please know that all airlines are in the business to make money. They won't take the best interests of anything in mind unless it is for their bottom line or stockholders.

                I need to mourn for Snickers since it is obvious Delta won't. I will honor her life by telling everyone I can about how she lost her life way to soon.

                I haven't been able to stop crying long enough to do anything other then call Delta & report what I feel is murder & post here. Thanks everyone for reading & for the kind words. I am gonna go lay in bed with my 3 hairless babies who I am so grateful for. :Cry:
                 
              • wouldluvabarebaby

                wouldluvabarebabyLairian

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                Delta MUST be held accountable for this! After googling "cargo pet deaths" in Google News, at least 3 other deaths this month are attributed to Delta's negligence, and this is a problem of epidemic proportions with them. I am just so saddened and angry by this :( Delta will NEVER see another penny of my money ever again!

                I pray that your grief and pain is lessened over time, and that the love of your family and friends (and even strangers who care) will sustain you.​
                 
                Last edited: Jan 23, 2011
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                • Sianne_and_Alice

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                  Oh I'm so sorry, we're all mourning right along with you. It's terrible, and I hope that Snickers death can at least serve as a warning, though I wish it didn't have too. :Cry:
                   
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                  • Gadzukz

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                    I am so so sorry about your baby. what a terrible thing to have to face, and my heart is breaking for your children as well.

                    I agree that this needs to be publicized. It's the only way to help other pets, to spread the word. Alert the media, send them the heartbreaking story from above. Also if Delta has a facebook page, post it there. Tell as many people as possible. I can not imagine the pain you and your family are going through right now.

                    For a shipping option, I just found out about a company called Shuttlepets, the lady is a retired borzoi breeder who had a bad shipping experiance with one of her dogs and started her own pet transport, she drives all over the country delivering pets at a very affordable rate. Just info for others who may be preparing to buy a kitten in the near future.

                    Again I am so very sorry for your loss.
                     
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                    • gizmo6370

                      gizmo6370Banned

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                      I'm so very sorry for your loss :Cry:...R.I.P. little Snickers...
                       
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                      • brnsugarbaybie

                        brnsugarbaybieLairian

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                        I am so sorry for your loss. We as the consumer don't know all the details of pet travel, but I would think the airline should have considered a pet as something more than baggage and knowing pets were aboard in extreme weather have someone there to collect them. I hope your children are not overly sad because of this
                         
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                        • Sleepyheadkitten

                          SleepyheadkittenSenior Lairian Senior Lairian

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                          Unfortunately, we have heard a lot of issues with this airline and pet deaths... In fact- my Mom had a little boy shipped out to her and he was VERY cold when she picked him up- even though he was legally allowed to fly out here per their rules.

                          I honestly think you need to create a website with your baby's information on it when you get the chance. Let Delta know that you will NOT let this neglect go unpunished.
                           
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                          • doriansmomma

                            doriansmommaLairian

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                            The worst part of everything is IF I HAD KNOWN that the cargo area is not climate controlled once the plane lands & depressurizes, I WOULD NOT HAVE SHIPPED HER IN THIS WEATHER. I simply would have had the breeder reschedule her flight. Knowledge is power, and I hope my new knowledge can help save someone else this absolute torment.

                            My 9 year old is very upset, Snickers was my 4 month old Sphnyx's half sister. My daughter Shelly has been preparing for her arrival for weeks. Getting all new clothes for her & a new bed that is still at the foot of my daughter's bed -- the place Snickers should have slept in last night.

                            Instead of pictures of my excited family picking up their new kitten, I have pictures in my head of her last minutes. Instead of her cozy & warm in her new bed & clothing, My husband hid everything along with the sweater Snickers was wearing when she gasped her last breath. Instead of my cats welcoming their new sister, they are laying with me as I cry. My family should be playing with a laser pointer & laughing as Snickers slides across my hardwood floors. Instead, they are all walking on eggshells near me so I don't start hysterically crying again. Instead of pizza in my downstairs freezer, It's in the trash & I have a kitten in a box awaiting a necropsy. Ironic no?

                            All because Delta cares more about money then a life. (They know the cargo compartment is not climate controlled once it lands -- with the temperature, they should have canceled the flight)
                             
                          • Sleepyheadkitten

                            SleepyheadkittenSenior Lairian Senior Lairian

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                            DoriansMomma- my heart just breaks for you... I just cannot fathom how heartbroken you are right now and I'm getting ready to call my Mom over this because literally- her little boy came in two weeks ago and was freezing cold, shaking, and although he did recover- it was frightening to say the least.

                            If you don't have the heart to push this and put it online- send me pictures and your story and I'll make you a site. I think people need to know about this horrendous story.

                            Just heartbreaking...
                             
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                            • Sleepyheadkitten

                              SleepyheadkittenSenior Lairian Senior Lairian

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                              PS- do you care if we post your story to the lists we are on? I'd like to share your information with other breeders of other cats.
                               
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                              • Gadzukz

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                                Thanks Trish for your offer of help. The thought of those children seeing their new pet suffer this fate just tears me up.

                                Dorians mom~ I am truly crying with you today.:Cry:
                                 
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                                • susi794

                                  susi794Moderator Staff Member

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                                  I am incredibly sickened by this post. When I sold one of my babies to a woman in Washington state, who flew here then rented a car from the airport to get to my house, so she could fly with the kitten back to Washington, I told her I was amazed she would come so far...and I refused to ship any of my kits at that time. She said that she worked for an airline years ago and couldn't begin to tell me how many dead pets they pulled out of cargo holds. I was apalled and it only reinforced my no ship policy...but then I got Lulu and Boo and they were both shipped and they got here fine, so I thought maybe I was just being silly and that things must've improved in that area.
                                  Well, after reading this, I'm not sure I would trust the airlines again...I like Bronwyn's transport option better. Or at least when transportation needs to be in colder or extremely hot weather.
                                  I would just die if anything like that happened to one of my babies.
                                  I am so terribly sorry for your loss and Delta should be punished for Snickers' unnecessary and irresponsible death.
                                  May she rest in peace, across the Bridge where she will be waiting for you and she will never have to be cold again. Because the love you still have for her will keep her warm until she can rejoin your family forever one day.
                                  So sorry,
                                  Susi and the gang
                                   
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                                  • English Dave

                                    English DaveV.I.P Lairian V.I.P Lairian

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                                    That's awful, I am so sorry :Cry:
                                     
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                                    • doriansmomma

                                      doriansmommaLairian

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                                      I would ABSOLUTELY LOVE & be very grateful if you could send this information to ANYONE you know who ships animals or even people who travel with their pets in cargo. I can't let her die & not have it mean something. I need everyone who travels with pets or who ships/receives pets to know the risks that all airlines conveniently leave out.

                                      I just checked the breeders website & she removed the pictures today of the kitten. But I do have 1 picture I saved of her. I will upload it now & post.
                                       
                                    • susi794

                                      susi794Moderator Staff Member

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                                      When you get the site done--please post the url as I will put it on everything I frequent.
                                       
                                    • doriansmomma

                                      doriansmommaLairian

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                                      And here she is, the beautiful Snickers only 2 weeks before she took the flight that claimed her life:

                                      [​IMG]
                                       
                                    • Gadzukz

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                                      I am curious, what has the breeder had to say about this tragedy?
                                       
                                    • Jennifer

                                      JenniferSenior Lairian Senior Lairian

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                                      What a horrible story. I feel sick to my stomach. DO NOT let Delta sweep this under the carpet. They need to acknowledge that they did wrong. If they knew they had live cargo, they should have done everything possible to remove the cat form the cold climate asap. Did the breeder atleast put a sweather on the cat or have a self warming blanket packed, or packed him up in warm fleece blankets? The entire country is in a deep freeze now.
                                      I could not imagin the horror you and your poor children had to go endure. Also Snickers what an awful end. This story breaks my heart. It very upsetting
                                      Bless Little Snickers
                                       
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                                      • doriansmomma

                                        doriansmommaLairian

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                                        I had called her the second I left the emergency vet last night & got her voicemail. I told her it was extremely urgent & she did return my call around 1:30am. (I am sure it was as soon as she listened to it)

                                        She was mortified, she said in 11 years, this is the first time something like this has ever happened. She told me she was contacting Delta. I gave her the phone number to the for Rick who is the Supervisor in charge of all Delta Cargo for the US. I also left her a message this afternoon after Delta called & told me the investigation is now being handled by the "claims" department.

                                        The whole thing is just sad.