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French bulldog puppy dies on trans-Atlantic KLM flight

Posted: 7:20 AM, Sep 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-04 08:20:53-04
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A 9-month-old French bulldog puppy named Roger has died on an international KLM flight from Amsterdam to Boston after allegedly being left without water for 18 hours.

Problems began when Andreea Suviena's husband was told he was not allowed to fly with the dog in the cabin on the trans-Atlantic flight, Suviena said -- contrary to KLM's regulations as stated on their website.

"Snub-nosed animals such as boxers, Pekinese and Persian cats can have trouble breathing during the flight, due to high temperatures and stress. To ensure their well-being, most snub-nosed animals may not be transported in the hold. However, they may be transported in the cabin or as cargo. English and French bulldogs, Boston terriers and pugs may only be transported in the cabin," says KLM's rules on traveling with pets .

As a result, the family was forced to arrange an alternative method of transportation and contacted a company to help move him on another KLM flight.

But when the family of three went to Boston Logan International Airport at the end of July to pick him up, they were told Roger was dead, according to a statement released by the family's lawyer, Evan Oshan.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines told ABC News they are currently reviewing the circumstances behind the puppy's death and that an investigation is ongoing. A separate external investigation into the puppy's death by the USDA is also taking place.

Oshan said Roger was taken to Angell Animal Medical Center for a necropsy, which concluded that Roger had died of heat stroke.

"We find out the dog was left with no water for 18 hours," said Suviena in an interview with Boston ABC affiliate WCVB.

The necropsy cited that as a French bulldog, Roger had a "unique upper airway anatomy" that makes breathing more difficult.

"Limited panting in a stressful, hot, or humid environment, combined with a lack of water, would have placed Roger at high risk for heat stroke," the necropsy report, obtained by ABC News, reads.

"These areas are supposed to be climate controlled, they're supposed to be pressurized, they're supposed to be given water. Water -- a basic necessity," said Oshan in an interview with WCVB. "The family has a right to know what happened here."

"[My 6-year-old son] knows Roger is up in the sky and he will take care of him," said Suviena.