Champion canine dies at lavish animal hotel

Champion canine dies at lavish animal hotel
by Llew-Ann Phang
The Sun, July 2006

PETALING JAYA: The six-star Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Animal Hotel near the KL International Airport (KLIA) has been accused of mistreating a dog under its care, but it says it did its best for the canine which died due to stress and an E.Coli infection.

The hotel is alleged to have mistreated and neglected the English bulldog, which was in transit last month while on its way home to India from a dog-show in Manila, where it had emerged champion.

It was said to have been traveling in a case which bore clear instructions on its requirements.

A source which did not want to be named said the instructions stipulated that the dog had to be kept in temperatures of between 10 and 24 degrees Celsius and checked on every half hour.

The source also claimed that unlike the cats holding-area, the dogs holding area was not air-conditioned, and the

dog was barking incessantly while left there.

“It was then left at the paddocks but because of the heat, it died by the time it was checked on again,” the source said.

MAS Corporate Communications Department (Cargo) public affairs head Farah Sabrina Samsudin said both the canine and feline holding areas are air-conditioned, adding that “the paddocks are strictly for horses”.

“Dogs are taken for a walk at the paddock by staff, but that service is only reserved for dogs originating or terminating at KLIA, and for the stay-in programme for them to exercise before or after flights,” she said. “Because of strict quarantine requirements, transit dogs are not allowed out of their cages to roam inside our area.”

Farah said the Animal Hotel was fully aware of the English bulldog’s handling requirements.

“We did our utmost best to transfer the dog as soon as the aircraft arrived from Manila on June 17 into the air-conditioned canine holding area, and staff inspected the dog at regular intervals,” she said.

She said when the dog was found motionless the next day, neither the KLIA Veterinary Services Department or a private veterinarian was able to immediately ascertain the cause of death.

“The matter was later referred to the department for a post-mortem.”

On June 27, the Veterinary Services Laboratory’s post-mortem confirmed the canine died due to stress and Colisepticaemia due to E.Coli.

“The report confirmed the cause of death was not exposure to heat or mistreatment,” she said, adding that the Animal Hotel staff is equally saddened by the dog’s demise.

Over the years, you will see several reports on pets such as dog perished while on transit after long travel. Very often, such event happen after the dog suffer extreme stresses during these long travel. In my opinion, it is equally important that the dog holding area is air-conditioned as many of these pet travel long distance all the way from cold countries such as Europe. Dog such as English Bull Dog that has flat nose may succumb to heat easily when compared to dog with longer nose. Hence offering air-conditioning will help to reduce stress to some extend. Since it is called the Animal Hotel, why not they install the air conditioning to offer additional comfort. That will make quite a big difference when the dog arrive at the hotel in a hot afternoon.

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