United Airlines Probably Killed a Supermodel's Dog

Supermodel Maggie Rizer's two-year old Golden Retiever died from heatstroke during a cross-country United Airlines flight two weeks ago. Rizer said she followed United Airlines protocol and had her dog, named Bea, checked out by a veterinarian before the trip. As Rizer noted on her blog (which was named after her dog):

Beatrice had a perfect health record. She received a full examination and a health certificate four days before the flight, as is required by the Pet Safe program. This program is United's branded on-board pet safety program. In addition to Pet Safe's stringent requirements, we took every extra precaution we could think of. Both the dog's kennels were labeled front to back with emergency numbers, flight information and warnings. Their kennels were purchased specifically for the measurements and design specified by Pet Safe. We purchased special water bowls which we filled with ice to ensure that the water wouldn't spill and that it would last longer. We drove the six hours to New York City from our house in Northern New York State, so the dogs wouldn't have to make a connecting flight. We paid United Airlines $1800.00, in addition to our plane tickets, to ensure the safety of our pets.

But when Rizer and her husband arrived in San Francisco, United Airlines workers told her Beatrice was dead.

"I was completely hysterical, I'm surprised I didn't get arrested," Rizer told the Daily News of her reaction after she heard about two-year-old Bea's death.

According to a necropsy, the dog died from heat stroke, most likely during a delay in New York.

A United spokesperson said that only .1% of the 550,000 pets they'd transported over the past five years died.

"That said, I just want to make it clear this isn't something we're not sympathetic to, certainly when it does happen it's devastating," (the spokesperson) said.

Rizer won't sue, but did offer this to the Daily News: "They are living, breathing creatures and to treat them like bags clearly isn't working," she said.

And since, the Daily News is the Daily News, they ended their article with this:

In 2005, it was revealed that [Rizer's] stepfather stole $7 million from her and blew it playing a Quick Draw lottery game.

So we will too.

[Image via Maggie Rizer]