Reno-Tahoe Airport Baggage Handler Fired for Refusing to Load Ailing Dog

UPDATE (Dec. 7) – The animal-loving baggage handler has been offered her job back, along with back pay; she returns to work next week.

EARLIER: Lynn Jones, an airport baggage handler at Reno-Tahoe International Airport, was fired last month after she refused to load a dog on a plane – a dog she described as an emaciated animal covered with sores.

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Bag Handler Feared Flight Would Kill Dog

Jones’ supervisor allegedly ignored her protests about the animal’s condition and ordered her to load the animal because all of the paperwork was in order. The baggage handler, an animal lover with three dogs of her own, said she feared the dog would die if it flew.

Eventually, airport police sorted out the matter by contacting an animal welfare agency which took custody of the dog. The canine eventually recovered and was flown to its owner in Texas.

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Monday, the first media report on Jones’ situation was published. Shortly after that, according to the Associated Press, Jones’ employer, Airport Terminal Services contacted her for the first time since her dismissal to “hear my side” of the story.

Bag Handler’s Company May Reconsider Firing

The company’s website now displays a prominent statement about the incident that reads in part:

“ATS takes this situation extremely seriously and commends this employee’s situational awareness and her desire to raise the concern on behalf of the canine involved.”

Company officials do not say if Jones will get her job back, but it appears to be a possibility. Jones, though, isn’t so sure she wants it back and says she’ll have to think about it. In the meantime, she still worries about that once-sickly animal and wonders whether the dog has regressed to the same poor condition she found him in at the airport last month

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Published: December 6, 2011