New Zealand Dog News

Reviewing the dog news in New Zealand with editors comments. Someone needs to keep reviewing how our dogs are doing in society.

August 09, 2008

Flight is worse than their bark

Three Waikato families have been stung with a $33,000 bill after the Autism Assistance dogs they spent two years fundraising for were blocked from boarding a Qantas flight at Los Angeles Airport.

Sonya Ewens, whose six-year-old son Sloan received one of the dogs to help with his autism, said the families were "devastated" by the incident.

"We were still fundraising the final $6000 for the original fare. The thought of another two years fundraising is really too much."

The three trained service dogs from the 4 Paws For Ability centre in Ohio, had already flown alongside their handlers on two American Airlines flights when Qantas Airways staff refused to let them board at LAX on July 13.

Ms Shirk pointed out her tickets did not state the flight was code-shared and she could not have known to call Qantas about its service dog travel policy.



  • At 3:54 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It is a shame that Quantas is getting such a bad rap over this when it was 4 Paws for Ability that stuffed up. 4 Paws should be paying the bill for this stuff up, not the families in Hamilton. Who travels with an assistance dog without bringing all the paperwork with them - especially when you are travelling to a country where the dog is just going to be a well trained pet? Karen Shirk should have double crossed her "i's" and double crossed her "t's" and then she would have found out that there would be a problem and she could have prevented all this from happening. And why didn't she just let the dogs ride in the cargo hold in the first place - any responsible trainer makes sure that a dog can handle seperation from people, otherwise all they are doing is creating an artificial and serious case of seperation anxiety. After paying something like $25,000 for a pet, the last thing the families should worry about is having to pay for someone elses mistakes.


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