Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Baggage Handler Tosses Dog Aboard Alaska Airlines Jet

Saturday night, just a day after Alaska Airlines increased its monitoring of ramp operations at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, a baggage worker threw a crate containing a border collie into the cargo hold of a plane instead of using a conveyor belt.

The dog's owner, Lisa Ross of Woodinville, was watching from inside the terminal around 11 p.m. when a ramp worker picked up the crate holding her 40-pound dog, Jace, tipped it at a 45-degree angle and then heaved it over his head into the jet.

Jace, a 40-pound border collie, was bound for a dog competition in Florida.

The baggage worker is an employee of Menzies Aviation, an Alaska contractor blamed for damaging two Alaska Airlines jets on the ground at Sea-Tac in the past three weeks. As a result of those earlier incidents, Menzies said it was flying 25 supervisors to Seattle to work alongside Menzies' local workers to improve the operation. Also, Alaska said Friday it was assigning six extra Alaska Airlines employees to supervise ramp operations for each shift.

But Ross saw no supervisors.

"My dog was basically being slammed from level to 45 degrees and projected into the plane," Ross said. "It was just horrifying to see."

The worker then walked to Ross' other dog, an Australian shepherd named Tucker, and tried to lift his crate but couldn't, Ross said. Workers used a belt loader for the 50-pound dog, according to Ross and an Alaska incident report.

I DEMAND this person be fired, and charged with animal abuse. I also demand the baggage handling company and airline compensate the dog owner, be fined by FAA, and also be charged with animal abuse. This was a crime, and it should be treated as such.

I don’t give a damn about their airline dispute. It doesn’t justify taking it out on a helpless dog, or an airline passenger.

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