Owner of dog seized at airport won’t be charged

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The owner of an ailing hunting dog seized at an airport last month after a baggage handler refused to load the animal on a plane won’t face abuse charges, according to an announcement from Texas animal control officers.

Officials in Corpus Christi, Texas, told the Reno Gazette-Journal (http://on.rgj.com/vTgxiz) on Friday that the animal is now in good condition and doing fine.

They made the announcement after the veterinarian who treated the male pointer before it was shipped back to Texas said the dog had been “worked very hard” on a Nevada hunting trip but it wasn’t abused.

“These (hunting) dogs get almost psychotic when they are out there working. They will run and run through anything,” said Diana Lucreer, a Reno veterinarian. “His paws were cut up, and he had cuts on his body.”

But she said the listless dog perked up after it was washed and fed.

“(He became) outgoing and friendly,” Lucreer told the newspaper. “He certainly needed to eat. He was happy. He wasn’t abused.”

The dog’s owner hasn’t been identified.

Baggage handler Lynn Jones was fired Nov. 12 after she refused to load the dog, citing lesions on its body and bleeding paws. Airport police suspected abuse and turned the dog over to Washoe County animal control officers.

The animal was shipped back to Texas after four days of care, including tending of its wounds, airport officials said.

Jones’ employer, St. Louis-based Airport Terminal Services, investigated the incident and rehired her Wednesday after a public outcry over her firing.

Executives at the company praised her for her courage in defending the animal even at the cost of her job.

Another Reno veterinarian said that while the dog might have been overworked on the hunting trip, it wasn’t abused or seriously injured despite its appearance.

“I’m glad (airport workers) called animal control. I would have done the same thing,” said Dianna Hess of Community Animal Hospital of Reno. “The dog looked sick, and it needed care.”

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Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, http://www.rgj.com

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