Air Canada is now not just in the hot seat but may well ought to be inside a dog pen after how it handled the case of a dog that went missing from one of its supposed flights.
On Monday, Air Canada lost Larry, a two-year-old Italian greyhound, in San Francisco after an unidentified personnel decided to take him out of his crate to stretch his legs.
Jutta Kulic, who had taken care of Larry after its owner died of cancer, had explicitly told employees and airport personnel not to take the dog out of its crate for whatever reason. The dog was bound for Canada, as Ms Kulic vowed to fulfill her supposed promise to her dying friend that she will find the dog a new home.
"I very clearly instructed them never ever to open the door and let the dog out of that crate, unless he's in a completely enclosed room," she said.
Airport personnel reasoned out they had taken out the dog because the flight had been delayed by a day due to mechanical problems.
As if by premonition, Ms Kulic's fears of potentially losing the dog happened when Larry was able to run away from its then-handler.
Ms Kulic appreciated Air Canada immediately notified her of the incident and said it was trying its best to locate the dog. The good PR image and seeming compassion for a missing being were supposed to have already covered it for the airline company, had it not for a badly sent email.
CBC News which tried to send follow-up queries to Air Canada was surprised to have received an email reply that was apparently not intended for the news firm.
"I think I would just ignore, it is local news doing a story on a lost dog," CBS13 Sacramento quoted Air Canada's Peter Fitzpatrick email. "Their entire government is shut down and about to default and this is how the US media spends its time."
When Ms Kulic was shown the message, she was dumbfounded. What's more, she's expecting the worst for Larry.
"Oh my God," she told CBS13 Sacramento. "I guess I wouldn't expect anything different from a company that would allow something like this to happen."
Later in the day, CBS13 Sacramento received another email.
"Air Canada acknowledges inappropriate comments were made to a reporter's followup questions regarding Larry. Air Canada has been providing the best available information to media on this matter. However, these comments do not refer to the search for Larry by Air Canada employees that is ongoing or our interest in returning him safely," it said.
It added it has "reached out to local groups involved in animal rescue for assistance. Additionally, we have broadly alerted the airport community and posters are up. There have been reported sightings, and we remain optimistic Larry will be returned."
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