Thursday, October 22, 2009

Continental says NO to Pit Bull puppy

Joey is a 4 month old Puppy rescued by the Chako Rescue Association in Sacramento. When Libby Sherrill, the filmmaker creating the documentary BEYOND THE MYTH, came out to California for an event, she met Joey and bonded with him. Joey is rambunctious and full of energy, though as happy go lucky as any pup could be. His energy level, however, makes him a harder placement because he needs a very active home. Thankfully, Libby is a very active woman and lives in the country in Knoxville, TN.

Well, Libby needed to fly home to TN, and she wanted to take Joey with her (in the Cargo hold of the Continental plane, with the little pup safely in a kennel). Continental, it turns out, doesn't like Pit Bulls and won't fly any Pit Bull over 6 months of age or over 20 lbs. Joey is about 4 months, but he just misses the weight limit at about 27 lbs.

Continental explains that "safety concerns" have led it to adopt this policy, which prohibits even "mixed" breed dogs that may be part Pit Bull (though their website says they allow "crossbreeds," the representative on the phone told us that information is wrong and the website simply has not yet been updated).

So, Joey had to stay in Sacramento while Libby flew home, without him, to TN.

Continental's policy is not driven by safety. What can a 4 month old puppy do that a 90 lb German Shepherd or Rottweiler could not do? Are they afraid that little Joey will break out of his kennel and damage the aircraft?

Well, I'd like you to meet this rescued German Shepherd from the bay area.

His name is Greylin, but it really should be Houdini. He's busted out of three kennels (destroying them in the process), escaped an enclosed dog run, and sailed over a 7 foot privacy fence. Continental will fly him, no problem, in a standard plastic Vari-Kennel in the Cargo hold of its aircraft which would no doubt prove as ineffective a containment device as the other three kennels he managed to demolish.

And he is not alone. Take a visit to Captains Kennels (a boarding kennel) that declares on its website, "Escape proof kennels, specifically German Shephards. If you own a German Shepherd, you know what we mean."

So maybe Continental should ban all Pit Bulls and German Shepherds. But wait! Border Collies are also often escape artists! "High intelligence does mean they learn quickly - but that includes how to do anything they set their minds to. They are master escape artists who can virtually pick the lock on your gate."

And the list goes on. Jack Russell Terriers, Malinois, Akitas, Huskies, Malamutes and many other breeds are well known for their abilities to escape confinement -- whether it be a fence, a crate, or an outside kennel; but for some reason, Continental has deemed a 4 month old Pit Bull pup weighing a mere 20-something pounds to be more of a menace than a high-drive, chew crazy, kennel-destroying German Shepherd about four times his size.

Apparently, it's only a secret to Continental that many different breeds of dogs can get out of SOME kennels. In other words, if Continental was really concerned about safety, it would mandate that all dogs be transported in secure, escape-proof kennels. But, no, Continental has chosen to discriminate against Pit Bulls, even little pups confined securely in crates -- even escape-proof crates -- and blissfully allow all other breeds on its aircraft.

CHAKO says "Shame on Continental" and urges everyone to contact Continental airlines at 800.WE.CARE2 (800.932.2732)(Apparently, they don't REALLY care -- at least not about a little rescue puppy needing a lift to his new home)

See Joey's story on the news at Beyond The Myth's site at

Author D. Capp holds an M.S. in medical science (biochemistry and genetics), a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, and a law degree.

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