Virgin denies leaving dog out in sun before flight death

VIRGIN Australia has rejected reports a dog which died on a Boxing Day flight to Sydney was left out in the sun.

Kristina and Neil Maccabee were devastated when their beloved french bulldog Bruno died during a flight from Townsville to Sydney earlier this week.

Bruno was found dead in his carrier at Sydney Airport.

"He was our family, he came everywhere with us, every moment shared. We love him more than anything and we are completely devastated," Mrs Maccabee said.

Kristina and Neil Maccabee were left devastated by the death of their dog Bruno.
Kristina and Neil Maccabee were left devastated by the death of their dog Bruno.

The couple had accused Virgin of leaving Bruno out in the sun but Virgin Australia said a review of CCTV showed correct procedures were followed.

A Virgin spokeswoman also suggested it was common for French bulldogs to have genetic respiratory issues.

"We were saddened to hear about Bruno's passing and we have conducted a thorough investigation including reviewing CCTV footage from the airport," the spokeswoman said.

"Our team followed all correct processes when transporting Bruno and ensured that he had water available and was placed in an undercover, shaded area prior to boarding the aircraft.

"Unfortunately, there are inherent risks in transporting Brachycephalic breeds such as Bruno, due to the respiratory issues often experienced by the animal while in transit."

The couple took Bruno to the RSPCA for an autopsy and claim they were told a heat stroke was the cause of death.

Marianne Zander from the RSPCA released a statement saying they would investigate the death.

"The breed is special, they don't have the cooling capacity of other dogs," Mrs Maccabee said, adding this was specifically detailed in the paperwork lodged with Virgin.

Mr Maccabee had just given Bruno a drink and also asked the baggage handlers to top up the water container in Bruno's carrier before putting him on board.

Bruno died on a flight to Sydney Airport.
Bruno died on a flight to Sydney Airport.

"I was worried about him being on the tarmac in the heat for too long," Mr Maccabee said.

But the Maccabees were horrified to see him on the tarmac in the blazing sun when they boarded the plane.

"I could see his container on the tarmac behind all the baggage and that was around 11.55am. We don't know how long he was out there," Mr Maccabee said.

"He would have been out in the heat for half an hour, 40 minutes," Mrs Maccabee said.



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