How would you answer this question? Is it O.K. for airport security to shoot and kill a dog that escaped from its kennel after a flight, rather than delay another plane scheduled to land?
Unfortunately airports are being forced to address this question as more pets travel by air. For now the only answer appears to be, “It depends where the airport is located.”
On December 17, dozens of flights were delayed in Manchester England when a traveling dog got loose from its cage and ran free on the tarmac. Ultimately airport staff caught the dog without any harm.
Last week a small white poodle named Ge Ge managed to escape from her kennel as it was being lifted from the “baggage carousel” at Meilan International Airport after traveling from Beijing to Haikou with her family.
Staff at the airport tried to stop Ge Ge, but failed. She ran to an access road outside the airport that was about 330ft away from the runway. That’s when security decided to implement “emergency plans for an animal invasion at the airport” and shot the little dog dead. They shot her so a plane scheduled for arrival could land.
Ge Ge’s owner, Ni Bin and her daughter, Zhou were met by airport staff with the dog’s body in their arms.
“We chased the dog for 10 minutes but failed to catch it. It’s 4:35 pm when the dog ran into the taxiway and flight CZ3120 of China Southern Airlines was scheduled to land a minute later,” said Yang Xiaobin, the airport’s vice-president. “To ensure air safety, we had no choice but to shoot the dog.”
Ms. Ni asked to see the surveillance video immediately following the tragedy, but was denied. Instead, two days later she and her daughter were shown a 15-second clip of the dog rushing out of its cage.
Ms. Ni said “…she found it hard to believe that her small dog could break out of its cage and suspected someone had tried to steal Ge Ge.” She is suing the airport for dog’s death and for withholding information.
Zhou posted details and pictures on China’s microblog. After demands from outraged animal lovers, the airport issued this statement.
“If the dog was sucked into the engine of an airplane, it may have caused damage to the aircraft and could have resulted in a fatal crash,” the statement said. “Every day, we have five to six pets on flights, but accidents are quite rare.”
Qin Xiaona, director of the Capital Animal Welfare Association issued her own statement, “The airline and airport should protect the dog from harm while traveling, but decided to kill her rather than look for another solution. The accident reflects a lack of humanitarian spirit and respect for life on behalf of the airport. If it was a person who rushed onto the runway, would they shoot them as well?”
Photo from gcourbis via flickr.