Archive for November 2, 2008

Not So Friendly Skies?

Thinking about flying your dog to that big show? You may want to reconsider…  This just in from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Maggie Mae, a West Highland white terrier puppy, was crushed to death on the tarmac at Atlanta’s airport this spring, horrifying her new owner.

Federal law requires airlines to report animal deaths, injuries and losses to the U.S. Department of Transportation. But Delta Air Lines didn’t have to report what happened to Maggie Mae.

That’s because the puppy was shipped by a breeder. Her death —- like those of many other animals owned by businesses —- doesn’t count under regulations that contain a loophole sought by the animal and transportation industries.

What? Well, apparently a dog doesn’t count as an “animal” if it’s owned by a business or commercial enterprise. And the airlines are quite happy to take advantage of that loophole.

Airline industry officials say federal reports show accidents involving animals are rare.

But those reported incidents don’t include animals such as Maggie Mae that were shipped by commercial owners. Airlines refused to say how many deaths and other incidents they don’t report to federal officials.

Delta representatives refused to answer when queried about the unreported deaths of non-animals, preferring instead to emphasize that the airline had zero reportable deaths in August and September of this year.

How in the world did regulations get mucked up this way?  Well, again from the Journal Constitution:

The loophole troubles the author of the original reporting law, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.). Last week, in response to the AJC’s investigation, Menendez sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters seeking answers.

“I believe current policies do not reflect Congressional intent,” he wrote. “I am surprised and disappointed that animals covered by this law have been defined in such a narrow fashion.”

Transportation Department spokesman Bill Adams said Friday that the agency believes its definition of an animal “properly carries out the mandates of the statute.”

It makes one wonder how much pull the airlines have with the department that is allegedly responsible for overseeing their operations…  Of course, the fact that transportation regulations are a tangled mass of loophole-ridden complexities enforced by an amalgam of different state and federal agencies probably doesn’t help either. The FAA, DHS, USDA, OSHA, DoT and others are all important players in airline safety – and it would appear that they don’t play well together at all.

For more information – including an excellent list of tips for safe air travel and information on how to report incidents go read the Atlanta Journal Constitution article.  They also provide information on how to contact congressional members who chair committees that oversee the U.S. Department of Transportation which I will post here:

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), chairman, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, 508 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20510-6125; or call: 202-224-5115.

Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), chairman, Aviation Subcommittee, U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, 2251 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515; or call 202-225-9161.

November 2, 2008 at 11:36 pm Leave a comment

Tag – We’re “It”

We’re quite pleased to announce that LabRat over at AtomicNerds has seen fit to bestow a Superior Scribbler Award on us.   

Of course, as with every Bloggy Award, there are A Few Rules we need to contend with to maintain the spirit of the award. They are, forthwith:
  • Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
  • Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
  • Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

 Now that the official part of this is taken care of – on to our awards:

The first goes to BlueDogState because: “If you count dog ownership among your civil rights, you’re living in a Blue Dog State of mind” – and we *heart* our civil rights. We also like biting, witty commentary — and BlueDogState and I both like to pick on the same kinds of people.

The next award goes to the first blog I got hooked one and the one that inspired me to start this little project: Terrierman’s Daily Dose.  Pat the Terrierman writes on working terriers, dogs, natural history, hunting, and the environment – and he does with style, wit and amazing proliferance proliferousness he writes a lot.

From the blog that inspired me I’ll make the leap to a blog that (I think) I helped inspire; my friend Heather’s new Cynography blog. It only took a bit of pestering nagging whining to get her to take the leap and I’m really glad that she did. To paraphrase her own description of herself she is a cynic and philosopher who possesses the watchdog’s virtue of distrusting everyone’s motives — even her own. Go check her out, and while you’re there take a peek at her husband Ken’s new blog on scent, SAR and other interesting stuff; Did A Cat Shit in Here?

Then we have WorkingDogDiary – a well-written, continuing series of essays about the author’s journeys with her working dogs.  It’s a refreshing break from the news, science, politics and business that take up much of the rest of my reading.

Last but certainly not least, we have GunDogDoc’sBlog.  Really excellent information on health and first aid for field dogs mixed in with photos and stories of dogs in the field.  Dr. Joe Spoo also offers his readers the unique opportunity to ask health-related questions that he answers in his blog on a regular basis in his “Ask the Vet” posts.

I’ve done my work – it’s up to the five of you now to spread the love.

November 2, 2008 at 4:35 pm 2 comments

Because A Dog’s Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste


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November 2008