Another dog dies in the friendly skies


Just weeks after the death of a supermodel’s dog on a United Airlines flight from New York to San Francisco, word comes that another canine en route to the Bay Area recently met a tragic, untimely fate.

Michael Jarboe’s three-year-old Neapolitan mastiff “Bam Bam” arrived at SFO dead after a flight from Miami and a four-hour layover in hot and humid Houston last month.

Jarboe told Miami TV station WSVN that Bam Bam was healthy before making a journey he had successfully completed in the past. This time, Jarboe worries that stifling heat in Houston — and what he alleges was fatal mishandling — doomed Bam Bam.

While stuck on the layover, Jarboe told WSVN he saw Bam Bam in his crate on the airport tarmac, panting with his tongue hanging out:

“Never, ever, have I ever seen him that hot. What United promised us is an air-conditioned cargo facility and an air-conditioned cargo van.”

Instead, what Bam Bam got was a ride on an non air-conditioned luggage carrier. When the 140-pound dog reached San Francisco, Jarboe was told Bam Bam had died:

“The guy came out, a bunch of them and said, ‘I’m sorry he didn’t make it,’ and it’s so surreal. What do you mean? We just put him on, we put him on … He was fine.”

In a statement, United Airlines blamed the breed’s shortened snout and size for complications leading to his death. In a sweeping act of compassion, the airline refunded the dog’s airfare and also offered Jarboe travel vouchers, which he refused.

Bam Bam’s death is the second brought to light in recent weeks. Supermodel Maggie Rizer went public about the death of her golden retriever on a flight from New York to San Francisco last week.

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as associate professor at San Francisco State University.

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