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Family alleges Air India negligence as pet dog dies on landing in Mumbai

A family from Kolkata that flew to Mumbai on June 11 for an eye surgery of their 22-month-old dog, who suffered from entropion, have alleged negligence by Air India, as the pet, declared “fit to fly” while being taken to the cargo area of the aircraft, died on landing in Mumbai
By Neha LM Tripathi, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JUN 16, 2021 12:15 AM IST

A family from Kolkata that flew to Mumbai on June 11 for an eye surgery of their 22-month-old dog, who suffered from entropion, have alleged negligence by Air India, as the pet, declared “fit to fly” while being taken to the cargo area of the aircraft, died on landing in Mumbai. AI has refuted their claims.

Entropion is an abnormality of the eyelids in which the eyelid rolls inward that often causes the hair on the surface of the eyelid to rub against the cornea resulting in corneal ulcers, perforations or pigment developing on the cornea, which can interfere with vision.

“I have lost my brother, I hope no other dog travels by Air India,” said 16-year-old Pratyusa Banerjee. Banerjee’s parents alleged that Gultu, of Chow Chow breed, died as a result of the airline’s negligence – first, because the aircraft had an oxygen pressure issue and second, they were informed about Gultu only after reaching the domestic terminal, losing time.

Banerjee said after a very rough landing at T2 on June 11, they were first made to go to the international cargo terminal to fill forms, following which they headed to the domestic terminal to get Gultu. As it was raining profusely that day, moving from international terminal to domestic cargo took time. “After Gultu was handed over to us, his body was warm and we consulted the vets who asked us to give him oxygen support and a cardiac injection. However, since nothing was available at the terminal, we rushed Gultu to Crownvet, a Worli- based clinic, but were informed that he died around 45minutes before,” said Banerjee.

“Why don’t they (airport) have a vet or an assistant for any kind of emergency related to animals when they know that an airline flies animals as cargo? The situation would have been totally different if Gultu had been attended to immediately,” said Banerjee. “According to the vet, Gultu could have been revived if he was given immediate oxygen and cardiac vial at the airport.”

Pets can travel with Air India only if the sender meets all requirements detailed in the Carriage of Pet policy, including providing the cage with prescribed dimension.

“In this case, all documents, including indemnity bond, were submitted and necessary criteria met to the satisfaction of both the airline and consignor. In fact, two pet dogs had travelled in the cargo of the same flight AI 676 from Kolkata to Mumbai that day. One of the two dogs had landed fit and fine. The other pet was unfortunately declared dead after arrival. Evidently, no issue related to oxygen was involved in the incident. Live cargo, like pets, are always delivered ahead of other cargo goods from the hold and this time too there was no exception,” said airline spokesperson.

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