Thursday, January 27, 2011

Response 2 to Naysayers on Delta's Kitten Death

A commentor wrote, "WRONG! How many of you have shipped kittens? I amazed that Delta took the kitten. Did you realize that animals must have a health certificate to travel and it states to what temperatures the animal is acclimated. Why in the world a vet sign off on this thing and why would anyone ship a kitten in such cold temperatures?? . We have gotten kittens from Moscow Russis in late December. That breeder ONLY used KLM because of the heated,climate controlled holds. There is information missing.... something that we are not being told. I don't think we are getting the whole story. I suspect the buyer was so desperate that they bullied the breeder in to shipping the kitten. If I had been the person shipping the kitten, I would have told the buyer, shipping is "
delayed because of temperatures. NOTHING would have changed my mind- period."

I've shipped kittens! Perhaps the fact that I bred Sphynx has slipped by here- but I've shipped Sphynx in all sorts of weather since I live in the desert and our heat can reach up to 115 degrees in the summertime! (However, I choose to ship Continental because they have climate controlled vans that transport to and from the cargo hold and they have the better track record. They also have no weather embargoes because the animals are not exposed to the weather during shipping- and therefore, you also do not need an acclimation statement. After this incident with Snickers, however, I am rethinking shipping at all unless airlines have a CONTINGENCY PLAN IN PLACE for emergencies.)

Once again- I challenge you to call Delta and tell them you have a 12 week old kitten to ship and ask about their procedures.

Let's go through your post... First, you state that "There is information missing..." Since when are we, as an animal loving community, so skeptical? The sad thing is- there is no information missing. My own mother just went through almost this same scenario within the last month. She went to pick up a kitten flown via Delta (and this was a six month old kitten!) and when she took him out of the crate, he was literally shivering, wheezing, and COLD. Our local temperature was probably over 40 degrees since we don't reach freezing- but it was still cold out. My Mother watched the transporters unload three other sets of cargo from three other planes before they unloaded Aidan's crate! That kitten never should have sat for three planes to be unloaded! Continental has a saying, "Last on, first off" for their pets in cargo. It appears Delta's saying is, "We'll get to it when we get to it".

Let's then go to Sara's story that she relayed to me recently. She had a kitten shipped to her via Delta and while he was in a climate-controlled environment, there was a mechanical malfunction and the plane was shut off. Which meant the kitten sat in the cargo area, without heat. Sara's kitten also died! Basically- this is the same situation as what happened to Snickers, except Sara's baby was probably 3-4 pounds at the time of shipping and fully furred. Delta NEEDS A CONTINGENCY PLAN.

It was also stated, "Did you realize that animals must have a health certificate to travel and it states to what temperatures the animal is acclimated." How many times have you shipped? Because most vets have a preprinted, pre-filled out acclimation certificate. Delta does require an acclimation certificate to fly. Therefore, once again, if they felt it was too cold to ship- that is when DELTA steps in and says, "The weather is too cold to ship." I'm not sure what your point is here- are you saying the veterinarian was wrong in signing an acclimation certificate for this kitten? Perhaps. But no one expected the kitten to sit in freezing temperatures for an hour waiting to be unloaded on that plane!

Another quote, "That breeder ONLY used KLM because of the heated,climate controlled holds". Really? Because if you call Delta- you will be told the same thing. That they have climate controlled cargo holds- that isn't the issue! The issue is- once the plane is shut off and depressurized, the heat/air conditioning SHUTS OFF. So you should count your lucky stars that you, like most people, received healthy animals! You know- I think quite a few people could rip you apart for shipping cats in from Russia when you can find any breed of cat within the United States with patience and research- and even if you couldn't- there are plenty of breeds that are just as gorgeous as your Nebelungs here. Yet, you won't find that here- you had the choice to go to Russia and import and I support that. I don't support bashing other feline lovers after they have suffered a terrible loss.

Finally, I want to conclude with the silliness about FORCING the breeder to ship. I shall call bull on that one. Plain and simple. A good breeder cannot be forced to ship- and a veterinarian cannot be forced to sign an acclimation statement and the airline cannot be forced to load that kitten into cargo. Plain and simple- hogwash.

I cannot believe the people who take the time to slander Heather and her family for the tragedy they have underwent. To call them liars, to make them out as pushy, nasty people when they were simply what so many people are- even today- a happy excited family picking up their kitten from what they THOUGHT was a safe shipping facility.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kitten Dies After Delta

By now, I am sure a few of you have read the horrendous story that is circulating through the web- it details the loss of a Sphynx kitten after it is flown via Delta cargo and then stuck within the cargo area for an extra 50 minutes upon landing. The owner is basically handed a hypothermic, near-dead kitten that dies as she rushes her to the emergency hospital...

So you know the story and I'm sure it has made most of you stop and pause and consider your shipping options if you ever want a new kitten, puppy, or critter that you simply cannot obtain locally.

I'm not interested in rehashing the exact details of Snicker's story. I was one of the first people to read about the tragic loss of this kitten and I am a very avid supporter of the owner, who underwent not just a horrific loss, but under the eyes of her two young children as well.

What I'd like to discuss today is why Snicker's story has touched me and why it has also angered me. It has reignited an anger that has laid dormant since my loss of Neala...

It never fails... Whenever I see Snickers' story posted, I always note many sympathetic people, almost in tears over the story and the kitten's death, yet I also always note one or two snide commentators that have to prove that they are superior to the rest of us lowly human beings and they go on a rampage about how 'Good breeders would never have done XYZ' or even, 'I blame the owner for being so selfish as to allow the breeder to ship, etc...'

This attitude of superiority crawls under my skin and I can feel flames starting to shoot out of my eyes every time I read/see it!

We are all human beings! We make mistakes! We learn from those mistakes! As a rescuer- I cannot even detail the number of mistakes I have made that probably cost kittens their lives! From learning how to tube feed to simply knowing that 'this color' poop means 'this bacteria'- we all learn from our experiences. The breeder had always shipped kittens at 12 weeks and had shipped through Delta for twelve years! The owner trusted the breeder- and shouldn't she? If you have a good rapport with a breeder, that's usually a wonderful thing! The owner did not stop to question the breeder's decision to ship and the breeder did not question Delta's rules about shipping in cold weather- both the owner and the breeder believed Delta when they stated that the kitten would be in a climate controlled area!

I challenge anyone who questions this to call Delta cargo and ask them about shipping an animal. I throw this gauntlet down in challenge! Although you may say, "Well, I would never!"- plenty of people trust the PROFESSIONALS.

In fact- you trust the professionals every single day! I trusted a professional veterinarian surgical center to operate on a tiny Sphynx kitten in July. I trusted them to keep her warm, keep her nourished, and that they would do everything within their power for her survival. I was wrong! Neala DIED because I laid my trust, implicitly, with PROFESSIONALS. Yet, no one blamed me for going to the surgical center to save Neala's life! Why not?

Yes, you can say that the breeder chose to ship- so that automatically makes her culpable. But really? I chose the surgeon for Neala! You can say that shipping was optional- so was Neala's surgery! Sure, it gave her the optimum chance of a good life, but the breeder believed shipping this kitten to its new owner would give this kitten the optimum chance of a good life as well!

You can blame the owner- because she allowed the breeder to ship Snickers, but once again- the owner trusted the BREEDER (in her eyes- the professional) who in turn trusted the airlines (in her eyes- the professionals).

When you push the blame of this horrible accident off onto the breeder or the owner, you negate the death of this kitten! You lose the importance of the message being spread- which is that wintertime transport of animals needs to be stricter. Perhaps it's simply the hairless animals that need a more stringent rule for shipping. After all, the brachiocephalic breeds (English Bulldogs, Frenchies, Persians, etc) of pets have stricter laws in place! Maybe there needs to be stricter laws in place for Sphynx, Peterbalds, Rexes, Chinese Cresteds, and the American Hairless Terrier! Yet, how can one go forward with this issue when people are not blaming the airlines, but pushing the blame onto those who trusted the professionals?

Yes! Snickers' Mom would say right now- she made a mistake shipping Snickers in the wintertime. Perhaps even Snickers' breeder would say the same. Yet we all make mistakes and we must live with them. The fact is- the airline failed in their duty to safely deliver that kitten from point A to point B.

I cannot tell you how disheartening it is to see people point the fingers anywhere, but at the airline! DELTA FAILED! DELTA KILLED THE KITTEN! Snickers is dead not because Snickers' Mom allowed her to be shipped nor because the breeder chose to ship during the winter months- the kitten died because Delta had an issue and no contingency plan in place for said issue when it occured!

It sickens me to the pit of my stomach when I read the nasty comments about Snickers' owner as well as her breeder. I don't know either person personally. I still don't know what cattery Snickers came from, but I don't think this knowledge will validate or invalidate the loss of Snickers! This kitten was a valuable life! Her loss should not be in vain!

Unfortunately, as humans, we are prone to trusting the professionals and that is the only MISTAKE Snickers' Mom made.