A French bulldog has been deserted in a US airport car park after its owner was told she could not take it into a plane cabin, reports The Independent.
Allegheny County Police recounted the incident on social media platform X, after they were called to Pittsburgh International Airport in Pennsylvania at 5.30 am last Friday.
1. Don’t leave your pet behind!
The dog, thought to be around seven years old, was “found unattended in a stroller” somewhere “near short term parking”. An emotive picture posted online shows the abandoned bulldog wearing a blue gingham collar. Its typical large brown eyes gaze at the camera as an officer gives it scritches on its wiggly black-and-white behind.
“Don’t leave your pet behind!” the social media post implores.
2. Emotional support animal
Airline staff told Sgt Jason Donaldson the owner had tried to claim the creature was “an emotional support animal” but when they informed her she would need to place it in a crate for it to be able to fly, she instead she left it behind alone, and boarded the flight to a holiday resort without it.
Despite the dog being microchipped, attempts to contact the owner failed. A local shelter is now caring for the animal and social media has erupted with offers to adopt the “baby” and disparaging comments about the former owner’s actions towards the “darling doggo.”
3. Animal abandonment
A charge of animal abandonment is “expected to be filed against the owner by the dog warden”, said police. Pennsylvanian law deems that the “intentional” or “knowing” abandonment of an animal is “cruelty” which is punishable by fines of between $300 and $1,000 (274 and 913 euros) and up to 90 days in prison.
In cases where no harm comes to the animal, the owner is most likely to be convicted of a “summary offense”. However, because the dog was abandoned in a car park in this instance, it could be argued the creature was “at risk of serious bodily injury”, meaning the owner could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, which carries penalties of up to two years’ jail time as well as a $5,000 (4,500€) fine.
According to figures published this year by the World Animal Foundation, around 3.9 million dogs are abandoned in the USA each year. The breed most likely to be found in an animal shelter is the pit bull, with Labrador retriever and German shepherd in second and third place respectively.