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Employee fired for refusing to load abused hunting dog onto plane

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Lynn was fired on the spot for refusing to load an abused huntung dog onto a plane for transport. Below is the story released on December 4th, 2011.

RENO, NEV. –  A Reno-area woman says she was fired as a baggage handler at Reno-Tahoe International Airport last month after she refused to load an emaciated hunting dog on a plane.

Lynn Jones of Lockwood said her supervisor told her to load the dog lying in a pet carrier because the animal's paperwork was in order and its condition wasn't her concern.

But Jones, an employee of contractor Airport Terminal Services at the time, told the Reno Gazette-Journal that she couldn't put the dog on the plane for shipment to Texas because its paws were bloody and its body was covered with sores.

"Everybody who saw it, the TSA people, the airport police officers, the girls at the ticket counter, was concerned," she said. "The dog was so weak and torn up. It didn't look like it could survive the flight.

"I was crying. I kept saying that dog could not be put on a plane," she added.

She said airport police phoned Washoe County Regional Animal Services, which took custody of the dog. The dog, apparently owned by a hunter who has it shipped to places he hunts, was shipped back to Texas after being nursed back to health.

Jones said she was fired on the spot Nov. 15.

"(My supervisor) kept yelling, `That's it, you're done, you are out of here, go home.' I left," she said.

Officials at St. Louis-based Airport Terminal Services, didn't return phone calls.

Krys Bart, CEO of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, said she was proud of how airport police intervened.

"In all my years here, this is the first time I'm thoroughly disgusted over what I understand to be the situation this animal was put in," she told the Gazette-Journal. "They (officers) had an affirmative responsibility to deal with this, and that's what they did."

Bart said she was out of town when the incident occurred, but determined later that the dog had been abused prior to arriving at the airport.

County animal services officials declined to comment on the incident, citing a new state law that keeps details of animal abuse cases secret.

Jones said her job loss has been a hardship, but she has no regrets. She held the job for more than five years.

"I just couldn't turn my back on that dog," she said. "My supervisor said it wasn't my concern, but animal abuse is everyone's concern who sees it."

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