Published : Tuesday, March 26, 2019 | 3:21 PM
A Pasadena family is demanding answers after their dog, given by family friends in Greece, died while on a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Los Angeles.
Adranik Avetisian said his family had been at Los Angeles International Airport March 19 awaiting Bear, a five-month-old purebred Central Asian Shepherd, when they were told after the plane arrived that the dog had been found dead in the cargo hold.
“We were waiting for months to get that puppy, and give him some love. My kids were waiting,” Avetisian told KABC Los Angeles. “I don’t know. It is very difficult. It is very hard for me.”
Avetisian said the dog had grown close to his kids, Alex and Ani, who were getting regular updates about Bear with photos and videos.
Since the plane arrived, the family has not seen the dog’s body and nor been informed of its whereabouts. Evan Oshan, their lawyer, said he plans to seek action from the Airport Police and from the district attorney.
Oshan has represented dog owners in other airline death cases, including those of Kokito, a French bulldog who died in a three-hour United Airlines flight from Houston to New York last year after being placed in an overhead bin, and Alejandro, who died in the cargo hold of a Delta jet flying from Phoenix to New Jersey last May.
“We want a criminal investigation of the circumstances surrounding the death of Bear,” Oshan told KABC.
In a statement sent to USA Today, KLM said they “take matters of animal welfare very seriously.”
“KLM’s Cargo Department is in contact with the owner of the dog, and for reasons of customer confidentiality, we cannot release further details around the current investigation,” the statement continued.
KLM added that the dog had been initially examined, in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control, “to ensure there was no immediately obvious public health threat.”
“I couldn’t go home that day,” said Avetisian. “I didn’t know what to say to my kids.”