Airport worker trying to protect dog loses job, gains fans
Jones, an airport baggage handler, became headline news this week when she said she was fired for refusing to load a portable kennel holding a dog that appeared to be abused. The dog was emaciated, covered with sores, and clearly neglected, she said in published reports, and she feared for its health during the flight from Reno-Tahoe International Airport to Texas.
"It was so thin, it made me cry," she told the Associated Press.
She alerted her supervisor, but said he never bothered to look at the dog. "I kept telling my supervisor, 'That dog is going to die if it gets on that plane,' " Jones said in the story. "He didn't even really look at the dog. He just kept saying: 'The dog is going, the dog is going.' ... I was hysterical and crying and yelling because the plane was going to leave and I was afraid the dog was going to be on it. I kept saying, 'Please, please, the dog is going to die.' "
Airport police got involved and contacted a local animal welfare agency, which took custody of the dog. And when it was all over, Jones said, she was fired.
Since then, Airport Terminal Services Inc. has been deluged with phone calls from an irate public demanding to understand how Jones could be fired -- and why the dog was ultimately returned to its owner.
"Be assured, we are looking into this matter," said a statement posted on the company's website. "ATS is reviewing the actions of all employees involved to determine if the appropriate action was taken."
A version of the story on Yahoo.com has more than 4,000 comments -- and counting. They all go something like this:
--"This is everything that is wrong with America today. The Good Samaritan is punished and the Abuser is rewarded."
--"Fire the supervisor and give this woman his job. She has the good sense to understand that quality employees use their brains and don't just follow orders."
--And: "Thank you for defending those without a voice."
The dog has since been returned to the owner. The Reno Gazette-Journal, which first reported the incident, said the dog is owned by a hunter who ships the animal to various hunting grounds.
"It just breaks my heart to think that dog has been sent back to that owner. It's disgusting. It makes me ill," Jones said in the AP story. "I can't fathom why they would send it back to someone who obviously was abusing the dog."
Jones, 56, is a friend to the fluffy, as you can see from the picture above. She lives outside Reno with three dogs, three cats and a bird — all rescued from shelters over the years.
A call to ATS was not returned by the time this story was posted.
-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch
Photo: Lynn Jones, with her rescued pets. Credit: Marilyn Newton / The Reno Gazette-Journal