Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Air Cargo Worker Loses Job After Reporting Abused Dog

I'd like to think that all people want to do the right thing. However, no matter how much people want to do the right thing, stories like this scare people into keeping silent. It's a rough world out there and not everyone can survive losing their job by standing up for what they believe in. I commend this woman for being strong enough to do what was right, no matter the consequence. Shame on her supervisor for telling her to load a clearly abused dog on a plane when he likely wouldn't survive the trip. I hope this woman is able to find a new job quickly and those responsible for her for her firing AND returning the dog to it's abusive owner are given the proper punishment.

Also, if you're in Nevada, what gives with this law making animal abuse cases confidential? My gut feeling is that this is a business backed law that protects factory farms some how - but I just don't understand why anyone would have thought this was a good idea.

Anyway - for everyone still reading, I hope this story inspires you to stand up for what's right and for those who can't stand up for themselves.

From rgj.com: Lynn Jones was a baggage handler at Reno-Tahoe International Airport when she saw an emaciated hunting dog, its paws bloody, its body covered with sores.

The listless pointer was lying in a pet carrier in the cargo area of the airport on Nov. 15, waiting to be shipped to Texas.

"The Transportation Safety Authority officers couldn't even get the dog to stand up to be X-rayed," said Jones, who was then an employee of Airport Terminal Services, the facility's contractor.

"Everyone who saw it, the TSA people, the Airport Police officers, the girls at the ticket counter, was concerned. The dog was so weak and torn up. It didn't look like it could survive the flight."

Jones said her supervisor told her to load the dog on the plane because the animal's paperwork was in order and its condition wasn't her concern. She said she was warned she would lose her job if she kept carrying on about the dog.

"I was crying," she said. "I kept saying that dog could not be put on a plane."

The Airport Police called Washoe County Regional Animal Services, which took custody of the pointer and provided it with veterinary care. Jones said animal control officers also were appalled at the dog's condition.

Jones said she was fired from her job on the spot.

"(My supervisor) kept yelling, 'That's it, you're done, you are out of here, go home,'" Jones said. "I left."

Officials of Airport Terminal Services, which is based in St. Louis, did not return calls for comment. Jones said when she called the company after the incident, she was told she was no longer an employee because she had "abandoned" her job.

"I didn't abandon anything; I was told to leave," she said.

When Jones went to animal services last week to get a copy of the incident report, officials said the document is confidential. They also declined to provide the Reno Gazette-Journal with any information about the incident or other recent animal abuse cases because "Cooney's Law," passed this year by the Legislature, keeps cases' details secret.

"The animal control people were wonderful at the airport, and right after they took the dog, they said it was in very bad shape, but it would probably pull through," Jones said

She said shipping documents indicated that the dog was owned by a hunter in Texas who keeps it in a kennel and has it shipped to the places he hunts.

"I hope he didn't get the dog back," Jones said.

The dog was shipped back to Texas after being nursed back to health and examined by a veterinarian, airport officials said. Under Cooney's Law, officials said, they can't release the incident report or the photos of the animal, but said they were sickened by its condition.

"In all my years here, this is the first time I'm thoroughly disgusted over what I understand to be the situation this animal was put in," said Krys Bart, CEO of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, who also is on the board of the Nevada Humane Society. "... I'm proud of (airport police) officers. They had an affirmative responsibility to deal with this, and that's what they did."

She said she is frustrated that, under the new law, she can't share the report or the photos with the public. She said she was out of town when the incident occurred but determined later that the dog had been abused prior to arriving at the airport.

Bart said Jones was not an Airport Authority employee and noted that Jones said she was fired, but the contractor said she abandoned her job.

"I'd like to know the truth," she said, "but I don't want to get in the middle of a personnel matter."

Jones said she is looking for another job.

She lives in Lockwood with three dogs, three cats and a bird, all animals she rescued throughout the years. She is a former blackjack dealer and once owned a dog grooming service. She worked as a baggage handler at the airport for about five and a half years and copies of her employee evaluations describe her as an exemplary employee, dedicated and hard-working.

She said her job loss has been a hardship, but she has no regrets.

"I loved my job at the airport," she said last week. "Getting the bags to the right flights was challenging, the work is very physical and the people were great. I wouldn't have traded that job for anything. I wouldn't have risked it for anything.

"But I just couldn't turn my back on that dog ... My supervisor said it wasn't my concern, but animal abuse is everyone's concern who sees it."


  1. I'm assuming by abandoning her job they mean being a human with a soul and not a robot, because Airport Terminal Services only hires robots... what a shame. I applaud you Lynn Jones.

  2. I hope someone reads her story and can offer her an even better job. I am so proud of her; I hope she is proud of herself too!

  3. I saw this article earlier today, and am horrified that her company fired her for that. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  4. If the papers were in good order, and the dog was ready to be shipped, then this worker was clearly insubordinate and fired for cause.

  5. http://www.atsstl.com/contact.asp

    To complaint to ATS

  6. That's not fair. I also hope that someone will help her find a new job. She deserves a better job.

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