A man has been left heartbroken after his dog passed away on a domestic Qantas flight.
Pet owner Anthony Balletta said that his bulldog Frank, who was two days away from his first birthday, died on QF405 from Sydney to Melbourne while travelling in the plane’s cargo hold.
Balletta had paid $1,100 to transport Frank just before Christmas but was told that upon landing in Melbourne that he had passed away.
“I dropped to the floor, they had to carry me out of the airport,” Mr Balletta told news.com.au.
“I never thought I could love someone as much as I loved Frank. He came into work with me every day, he used to make everyone smile.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this before in my whole life.”
A spokesperson for Qantas explained that a review of the incident had found that Frank had not been mishandled.
“We can understand for Mr Balletta and his family that what’s occurred is very distressing,” the spokesman said.
“An investigation found there were no issues on-board the aircraft or during the journey with all procedures followed.”
Qantas customers who book their pets for travel are informed at the booking process that snub-nosed breeds including bulldogs are considered high risk for air travel due to respiratory issues.
Since sharing his story, Balletta has been horrified to discover how many snub-nosed dogs have died during air travel.
He also has called for trained vets to check pets before flights.
“Why wouldn’t they have at least one vet checking over the dogs and saying ‘yep he’s good’ or ‘no he’s not fit to fly’,” Mr Balletta said.
“I don’t want money from Qantas, I don’t want a free flight to Queensland. What I want to do is create awareness for all the dog owners about what they’re in for.”
Qantas have since refunded Balletta’s transportation costs.