March 2012

Is Air Travel Safe for Pets?

Some Breeds More at Risk Than Others

Last week, we discussed United Airlines’ decision to ban certain dog breeds (often labeled as aggressive) from its planes. While doing some research on that topic, I came across another interesting pet policy on United’s website. The airline also dictates when and what types of short-nosed breeds can fly on their planes. This policy hasn’t generated as much of an uproar, however, because this policy focuses on keeping dogs safe in the sky.

Owners of Boston terriers, bulldogs, and pugs can fly with their pets if they meet certain requirements outlined by United. Puppies between eight weeks and six months and under 20 pounds can fly year-round. Adult breeds that exceed the 20-pound weight limit cannot fly during the summer months (May to September) and can fly during the September to May if temperatures are less than 85 degrees.

United Airlines Bans Nine Breeds From Flying

But Is the Rule Fair?

United Airlines’ recent merger with Continental has caused the airline to update its pet policy. Now, it has banned nine breeds, including the Pit Bull and American Staffordshire Terrier, from flying on its fleet. Dog owners are speaking out against the airlines’ discriminatory policy, with many claiming that identifying an entire breed as aggressive and not fit for flying is simply unfair.

Dog owners are right. A well-trained dog of any breed is capable of boarding a plane successfully, just as an untrained dog of any breed could lash out, be aggressive, or wreak havoc on a flight. A general ban might seem heartless and discriminatory, but can airlines really accept pets on a case-by-case basis?

NBC’s Newest Star is a Three-Legged Pooch

Champion Has Won Over “Parks & Rec” Fans

If you watch NBC’s “Parks & Recreation,” you’ve noticed a new cast member this season—Champion, the three-legged dog. Champion’s garnered a lot of laughs this season, from having an unfortunate accident during Leslie Knope’s (Amy Poehler’s) first campaign rally to responding quite well to training by Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe). Now, NBC has shared some information with Champion’s loyal fans to let us know more about this lovable pooch.

Real name Lucy, this three-legged Pit Bull was rescued in Los Angeles in 2004. She had already lost her front right leg when she was rescued, so the cause is unknown. However, Lucy is very agile, as “Parks & Rec” viewers know, which leads her trainers to believe that she lost the leg at a young age. She seems to maneuver just fine on three legs, even running in last week’s episode. A team of trainers works with Lucy on the set to ensure she’s well-behaved and responds on cue.